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THE WORK OF
DOROTHY M. RICHARDSON
"In the ordinary novel, the novelist stands
on the banks of the river of life chronicling
how and when people ariie, and how it is that
things happen to them. But Miriam (the
central figure of Dorothy Richardson's work)
pulls us with her into the yielding water."
"The style grows upon one with familiarity ;
it is continually illumined by passages of
brilliant insight, and its half-subconscious
revelation of personality i« wonderfully attrac-
tive." — Daily Telegraph.
POINTE ' ROOFS
DUCKWORTH 6:^ CO.
3 HENRIETTA STREET, LONDON, W.C.
DOROTHY M. RICHARDSON
DUCKWORTH & CO.
3 HENRIETTA STREET, COVENT GARDEN
First Published ig2i
^ 1\ /T IRIAM ran upstairs narrowly ahead of her
* IVJL thoughts. In the small enclosure of her
1 room they surged about her, gathering power from
the familiar objects silently waiting to share her
astounded contemplation of the fresh material.
She swept joyfully about the room ducking and
doubling to avoid arrest until she should have
discovered some engrossing occupation. But in
the instant's pause at each eagerly opened drawer
and cupboard, her mind threw up images. It was
useless. There was no escape up here. Pelted
from within' and without, she paused in laughter
with clasped restraining hands the rest of
the evening must be spent with people . . . the
nearest ; the Baileys ; she would go down into
the dining-room and be charming with the Baileys
until to-morrow's busy thoughtless hours were in
sight. Half-way downstairs she remembered that
the forms waiting below, for so long unnoticed and
^ unpondered, might be surprised, perhaps affronted
^ by her sudden interested reappearance. She rushed
g on. She could break through that barrier. Mrs.
fi^^^ru ,? 4-
Bailey's quiet withholding dignity would end in
delight over a shared gay acknowledgment that her
house was looking up.
She opened the dining-room door, facing in ad-
vance the family gathered at needlework under the
gaslight, an island group in the waste of dreary in-
creasing shabbiness .... she would ask some ques-
tion, apologising for disturbing them. The room
seemed empty ; the gas was turned dismally low.
Only one light was on, the once new, drearily hope-
ful incandescent burner. Its broken mantle shed a
ghastly bluish-white glare over the dead fern in the
centre of the table and left the further parts of the
room in obscurity. But there was someone there ;
a man, sitting perched on the sofa-head, and beyond
him someone sitting on the sofa. She came forward
into silence. They made no movement ; boarders,
people she did not know, stupefied by their endur-
ance of the dreariness of the room. She crossed to
the fireside and stood looking at the clock-face.
The clock was not going. " Are you wanting the
real Greenwich, Miss Henderson ? " She turned,
ashamed of her mean revival of interest in a world
from which she had turned away, to observe the
woman who had found possible a friendly relation-
ship with Mr. Gunner. " Oh yes I ^o," she
answered hurriedly, carefully avoiding the meeting
of eyes that would call forth his numb clucking
laughter. But she was looking into the eyes of
Mrs. Bailey Sitting tucked neatly into the
sofa corner, with clasped hands, her shabbiness veiled
by the dim light, she appeared to be smiling a far-
away welcome from a face that shone rounded and
rosy in the gloom. She was neither vexed nor
pleased. She was far away, and Mr. Gunner went
on conducting the interview. He was speaking
again, with his watch in his hand. He, having
evidently become a sort of intimate of the Baileys,
was of course despising her for her aloofness during
the bad period. She paid no heed to his words,
remaining engrossed in Mrs. Bailey's curious still
manner, her strange unwonted air of having no
part in what was going on.
She sought about for some question to justify
her presence and perhaps break the spell, and
recovered a memory of the kind of enquiry used
by boarders to sustain their times of association
with Mrs. Bailey. In reply to her announcement
that she had come down to ask the best way of
getting to Covent Garden early in the morning
Mrs. Bailey sat forward as if for conversation. The
spell was partly broken, but Miriam hardly recog-
nised the smooth dreamy voice in which Mrs.
Bailey echoed the question, and moved about the
room enlarging on her imaginary enterprise,
struggling against the humiliation of being aware of
Mr. Gunner's watchfulness, trying to recover the
mood in which she had come down and to drive
the message of its gaiety through Mrs. Bailey's
detachment. She found herself at the end of her
tirade, standing once more facing the group on the
sofa ; startled by their united appearance of kindly,
smiling, patient, almost patronising tolerance.
Lurking behind it was some kind of amusement.
She had been an awkward fool, rushing in,
seeing nothing. They had been discussing business
together, the eternal difficulties of the house.
Mr. Gunner was behind it all now, intimate and
helpful and she had come selfishly in, interrupting.
Mrs. Bailey had the right to display indifference
to her assumption that anything she chose to
present should receive her undivided attention ;
and she had not displayed indifference. If Mr.
Gunner had not been there she would have been
her old self. There they sat, together, frustrating
her. Angered by the pressure of her desire for
reinstatement she crashed against their quietly
smiling resistance. " Have I been interrupting
you ? "
" No, young lady ; certainly not," said Mrs.
Bailey in her usual manner, brushing at her
" I believe I have," smiled Miriam obstinately.
Mr. Gunner smiled serenely back at her. There
was something extraordinary in such a smile coming
from him. His stupid raillery was there, but
behind it was a modest confidence.
" No," he said gently. " I was only trying
to demonstrate to Mrs. Bailey the bi-nomial
They did not want her to go away. The room was
freely hers. She moved away from them, wandering
about in it. It was full, just beyond the veil of
its hushed desolation, of bright light ; thronging
with scenes ranged in her memory. All the people
in them were away somewhere living their lives ;
they had come out of lives into the strange, lifeless,
suspended atmosphere of the house. She had felt
that they were nothing but a part of its suspension,
that behind their extraordinary secretive talkative
openness there was nothing, no personal interest
or wonder, no personality, only frozen wary
secretiveness. And they had lives and had gone
back into them or forward to them. Perhaps
Mrs. Bailey and Mr. Gunner had always realised
this . . . always seen them as people with other
lives, not ghosts, frozen before they came, or
unfortunates coming inevitably to this house
rather than to any other, to pass on, frozen for life,
by their very passage through its atmosphere. . . .
There had been the Canadians and the foreigners,
unconscious of the atmosphere ; free and active in
it. Perhaps because they really went to Covent
Garden and Petticoat Lane and Saint Paul's. . . .
There's not many stays 'ere long ; them as stays,
stays always. A man writing ; pleased with
making a single phrase stand for a description of
a third-rate boarding-house, not seeing that it
turned him into a third-rate boarding-house. . . .
Stays always ; always. But that meant boarders ;
perhaps only those boarders who did nothing at
all but live in the house, waiting for their food ;
" human odds and ends " literary talk,
the need for phrases.
These afterthoughts always came, answering
the man's phrase ; but they had not prevented his
description from coming up always now together
with any thoughts about the house. There was
a truth in it, but not anything of the whole truth.
It was like a photograph it made you see the
slatternly servant and the house and the dreadful
looking people going in and out. Clever phrases
that make you see things by a dehberate arrange-
ment, leave an impression that is false to life. But
men do see life in this way, disposing of things and
rushing on with their talk ; they think like that,
all their thoughts false to Ufe ; everything neatly
described in single phrases that are not true.
Starting with a false statement they go on piling
up their books. That man never saw how extra-
ordinary it was that there should be anybody,
waiting for anything. But why did their clever
phrases keep on coming up in one's mind ?
Smitten suddenly when she stood still to face her
question, by a sense of the silence of the room,
she recognised that they were not waiting at all
for her to make a party there. They wanted to go
on with their talk. They had not merely been
sitting there in council at the heart of the gloom
because the arrival of new boarders was beginning
to hft it. They had sat like that many times before.
They were grouped together between her and her
old standing in the house, and not only they, but
life, going, at this moment, on and on. They did
not know, Hfe did not know, what she was going to
prove. They did not know why she had come down.
She could not go back again without driving home
her proof. It was here the remainder of the evening
must be passed, standing on guard before its
earher part, strung by it to an animation that
would satisfy Mrs. Bailey and restore to herself
the place she had held in the house at the time when
her life there had not been a shapeless going on and
on. The shapclcssness had gone on too long.
Mrs. Bailey had been aware of it, even in her
estrangement. But she could be made to feel that
she had been mistaken. Looked back upon now,
the interval showed bright with things that would
appear to Mrs. Bailey as right and wonderful
life ; they were wonderful now, linked up with the
wonder of this evening, and could be discussed
with her, now that it was again miraculously certain
they were not all there was.
But Mr. Gunner was still there, perched stolidly
in the way. In the old days antagonism and some
hidden fear there was in his dislike of her, would
hgve served to drive him away. But now he was
immovable ; and felt, or for some reason thought
he felt, no antagonism. Perhaps he and Mrs.
Bailey had discussed her together. In this intoler-
able thought she moved towards the sofa with the
desperate intention of sitting intimately down at
Mrs. Bailey's side and beginning somehow, no matter
how, to talk in a way that must in the end send him
away. " There's a new comet," she said violently.
They looked up simultaneously into her face, each
of their faces wearing a kind, veiled, unanimous
patience. Mrs. Bailey held her smile and seemed
about to speak ; but she sat back resuming her
dreamy composure as Mr. Gunner taking out his
notebook cheerfully said :
" If you'll give me his name and address
we'll take the earliest opportunity of paying a
Mrs. Bailey was pleading for indulgence of her
failure to cover and distribute this jest in her
usual way. But she was ready now for a seated
confabulation. But he would stay, permitted by
her, immovable, slashing across their talk with
his unfailing snigger, unreproved.
" All sorts of people are staying up to see it ;
I suppose one ought," Miriam said cheerfully.
She could go upstairs and think about the comet.
She went away, smiling back her response to Mrs.
Bailey's awakening smile.
Her starlit window suggested the many watchers.
Perhaps he would be watching ? But if he had seen
no papers on the way from Russia he might not have
heard of it. It would be something to mention
to-morrow. But then one would have to confess
that one had not watched. She opened her window
and looked out. It was a warm night ; but perhaps
this was not the right part of the sky. The sky
looked intelligent. She sat in front of the window.
Very soon now it would not be too early to light
the gas and go to bed.
No one had ever seen a comet rushing through
space. There was nothing to look for. Only people
who knew the whole map of the sky would recognise
the presence of the comet. . . . But there was a
sort of calming joy in watching even a small piece
of a sky that others were watching too ; it was
one's own sky because one was a human being.
Knowing of the sky and even very ignorantly a
little of the things that made its effects, gave the
most quiet sense of being human ; and a sense of
other human beings, not as separate disturbing
personalities, but as sky-watchers " Looking
at the stars one feels the infinite pettiness of
mundane affairs. I am perpetually astonished by
the misapplication of the term infinite. How, for
instance, can one thing be said to be infinitely
smaller than another ? " He had always objected
only to the inaccuracy, not to the dreary-weary
sentiment. Sic transit. Almost everyone, even
people who liked looking at the night-sky seemed to
feel that, in the end. How do they get this kind
of impression ? H the stars are sublime, why should
the earth be therefore petty ? It is part of a
sublime system. If the earth is to be called petty,
then the stars must be called petty too. They may
not even be inhabited. Perhaps they mean the
movement of the vast system going on for ever,
while men die. The indestructibility of matter.
But if matter is indestructible, it is not what the
people who use the phrase mean by matter. If
matter is not conscious, man is more than matter.
If a small, no matter how small, conscious thing is
called petty in comparison with big no matter
how big unconscious things, everything is made
a question of size, which is absurd. But all these
people think that consciousness dies
The quiet forgotten sky was there again ; intelli-
gent, blotting out unanswered questions, silently
reaching down into the life that rose faintly in her
to meet it, the strange mysterious life, far away
below all interference, and always the same.
Teaching, being known as a teacher, had brought
about Mrs. Bailey's confident promise to the Russian
student. There was no help for that. If he were
cheated, it was part of the general confusion of the
outside life. He also was subject to that. It would
be a moment in his well-furnished life, caught up
whenever his memory touched it, into the strand of
contemptible things. He would see her drifting
almost submerged in the flood of debris that made
up the boarding-house life, its influence not
recognised in the first moments because she stood
out from it, still bearing, externally, the manner of
another kind of life. The other kind of life was
there, but able to realise itself only when she was
alone. It had been all round her, a repelling
memory, just now in the dining-room .... blind-
ing her .... making her utterly stupid .... and
there they were, in another world, living their
lives ; their smiling patience taking its time, amused
that she did not see. Of course that was what he
had meant. There was no other possible meaning
.... behind barred gates, closed against her, they
had sat, patiently impatient with her absurdity
.... Mrs. Bailey and Mr. Gunner. . . .
He^ had had the clearness of vision to discover
what she was behind her half-dyed grey
hair and terrible ill-fitting teeth. Glorious. Into the
midst of her failing experiment, at the very moment
when the shadow of on-coming age was making it
visibly tragic, had come this man in his youth,
clear-sighted and determined, seeing her as his
happiness, his girl. She was a girl, modest and good.
. . . Circumstances could do nothing. There
as she stood at bay in the midst of them, the thing
she believed in, her one test of everything in life,
always sure of her defence and the shelter of her
curious little iron strength, had come again to her
herself, all her own ... it was the unasked
reward of her unswerving faith. She stood
decorated by a miracle.
Mrs. Bailey had triumped ; justified her ever-
lasting confident smile.
She was enviable ; her qualities blazoned by
success in a competition whose judges, being blind,
never failed in discovery
But the miracle gleams only for a moment, and
the personal life, no longer threading its way in
a wonderful shining mysteriously continuous and
decisive pattern freely in and out of the world-
wide everything, is henceforth labelled and exposed,
repeating until the eye wearies of its fixity, one
little lustreless shape ; and the outside world is
left untouched and unchanged. Is it worth
while ? A bhnd end, in which death swiftly
increases But without it, in the end,
there is no shape at all?
The hour had been such a surprising success
because of a smattering of knowledge : until the
moment when he had said I have always from
the first been interested in philosophy. Then
knowing that the fascinating thing was philosophy
and being ignorant of philosophy, brought the
certainty of being unable to keep pace
Philosophy had come, the strange nameless thread
in the books that were not novels, with its terrible
known name at last and disappeared in the same
moment for ever away into the lives of people
who were free to study. . . But if, without
knowing it, one had been for so long interested in a
subject, surely it gave a sort of right ? Perhaps he
would go on talking about philosophy without
asking questions. No matter what failure lay ahead,
it might be possible, even if the lessons lasted
onl^ a little while, to find out all he knew about
philosophy. It was a privilege, another of those
extraordinary privileges coming suddenly and
unexpectedly in strange places, books or people
knowing all about things one had already become
involved in without knowing when or why, people
interested and attracted by a response that at
first revealed no differences, so that they all in turn
took one to be like themselves, and looking at life
in their way. It made a relationship that was as
false as it was true. What they were, they were
permanently ; always true to the same things.
Why being so different, was one privileged to meet
them ? There must be some explanation. There
was something that for a while attracted all kinds of
utterly different people, men and women — and then
something that repelled them, some sudden revela-
tion of opposition, or absolute difference, making
one appear to have been playing a part. Insincere
What is fickleness ? He is fickle, people say, with a
wise smile. But one always knows quite well why
people go away, and why one goes oneself. Not
having the sense of fickleness probably means that
one is fickle. There is something behind the
accusation and the maddening smile with which
it is always made, that makes you say thank heaven.
People who are not what they call fickle, but always
the same, are always, in the midst of their bland
security, depressed about life in general, and have
" a poor opinion of humanity." " Humanity does
not change," they say. It is the same as it was in
the beginning is now and ever shall be. oooo.
And now to Godthefather .... and they find even
their steadfast relationships dull. They are the
people who talk about " ordinary everyday life "
and approve of " far horizons " and desert islands
and the other side of the moon, as if they were real
and wonderful and life was not. If they went
there it would be the same to them ; they would
be just the same there ; but something in the way
their lives are arranged prevents them from ever
suddenly meeting Mr. Shatov. They meet only
each other. The men make sly horrible jokes
together the Greeks had only one wife ; they
called it monotony.
But I find my daily round at Wimpole
Street dull. No, not dull ; wrong in some way.
I did not choose it ; I was forced into it. I chose
it ; there was something there ; but it has gone.
If it had not gone I should never have found other
things. " But you would have found something
else my child." No. I am glad it has gone. I see
now what I have escaped. " But you would
have developed differently and not got out of touch.
People don't if they are always together." But that
is just the dreadful thing. . . . Cleo de Merode
going back sometimes, with just one woman friend,
to the little cabarets. . . . Intense sympathy with
that means that one is a sort of adventuress . . .
the Queen can never ride on an omnibus.
Why does being free give a feeling of meanness ?
Being able to begin all over again, always unknown,
at any moment ; feehng a sort of pity and contempt
for the people who can't ; and then being happy
and forgetting them. But there is pain all round
it that they never know. It is only by the pain
of remaining free that one can have the v^hole
world round one all the time. . . . But it
disappears. . . .
No, just at the moment you are most sure that
everything is over for ever, it comes again, and you
cannot believe it ever disappeared. But with the
little feeling of meanness ; towards the people you
have left and towards the new people. If you have
ever failed anybody, you have no right to speak
to anyone else. All these years I ought never to
have spoken to anybody. " If I have shrunk
unequal from one contest the joy I find in all the
rest becomes mean and cowardly. I should hate
myself if I then made my other friends my asylum."
Emerson would have hated me. But he thinks
evil people are necessary. How is one to know
whether one is really evil ? Suppose one is. The
Catholics believe that even the people in hell have
a little relaxation now and again. Lewes said it
is the relief from pain that gives you the illusion
of bliss. It was cruel when she was dying ; but
if it is true where is the difference ? Perhaps in
being mean enough to take relief you don't deserve.
Can anyone be thoroughly happy and thoroughly
Botheration. Some clue had been missed. There
was something incomplete in the thought that had
come just now and seemed so convincing. She
turned back and faced the self that had said one
ought to meet everything in life with one's eyes on
the sky. It had flashed in and out, between her
thoughts. Now it seemed alien. Other thoughts
were coming up, the thoughts and calculations she
had not meant to make, but they rushed forward,
and there was something extraordinary behind
them, something that was part of the sky, of her
own particular sky as she knew it. She had the
right to make them, having been driven away from
turning them into social charm for the dining-room.
Once more she turned busily to the sky, thrusting
back her thoughts ; but it was just the flat sky of
everyday, part of London ; with nothing par-
ticular to say.
Thinking it over up here, alone in the universe,
could not hurt the facts. To-morrow there would
be more facts. That could not be helped, unless
one died in the night or the house were burned
down. Facing the empty sky, sitting between it
and the empty stillness of the house she felt she
was beaten ; too tired now to struggle against the
tide of reflections she had fled downstairs to
Only this morning, it seemed days ago, coming
into the hall at Wimpole Street, the hoHdays still
about her, little changes in the house, the greetings,
the busy bustling cheerfulness, the sense of fresh
beginnings, all ending in that dreadful moment of
realisation ; being back in the smell of iodoform for
another year ; knowing that the holidays had
changed nothing ; that there was nothing in this
life that could fulfil their promises ; nothing but
the circling pressing details, invisible in the distance,
now all there, at a glance, horribly promising to fill
her days and leave her for her share only tired
evenings. Unpacking, the spell of sunburnt
summer-scented, country-smelling clothes, the
fresh beginning in her room, one visit to an A.B.C.
and the British Museum and everything would
be dead again. No change at Tansley Street ;
through the crack in the dining-room door Mr.
Rodkin and his newspapers, Mr. Gunner sitting
over the empty grate waiting for nothing ; Mrs.
Mann standing on the hearthrug, waiting to
explain away something, watching Sissie and Mrs.
Bailey clear the table, with a smile fixed on her
large well-made child's face, Mr. Keppel coming
out of the room with his graceful halting lounge and
going on, unseeing, upstairs, upright in his shabby
dreamy grey clothes as if he were walking on level
ground. Lingering a moment too long, Mrs.
Bailey in the hall, her excited conspirator's smiles
as she communicated the news of Mr. Rodkin's
friend and the lessons, as if nothing were changed
and one were still always available for association
with the house ; her smiling calculating dismay at
the refusal, her appeal to Mr. Rodkin, his abstracted
stiff- jointed emergence into the hall with his news-
paper, his brilliant-eyed, dried-up laugh, his chuck-
ling assertion, like a lawyer, that he had promised
the lessons and Shatov must not be disappointed ;
the suspicion that Mrs. Bailey was passing the
moments in fear of losing a well-to-do newcomer,
an important person brought in by her only good
boarder ; the wretched sense of being caught and
linked up again in the shifts and deceptions of the
bankrupt house ; the uselessness ; the certainty
that the new man, as described, would be retained
only by his temporary ignorance and helplessness,
the vexatious thought of him, waiting upstairs in
the drawing-room in a state of groundlessly aroused
interest and anticipation, Mr. Rodkin's irre-
sponsible admiring spectator's confidence as he
made the introductions and vanished whilst the
little dark frock-coated figure standing alone in the
cold gaslight of the fireless room was still in the
attitude of courteous obeisance ; the happy ease of
explaining to the controlledly waiting figure the
impossibility of giving lessons on one's own language
without the qualification of study ; his lifted head,
the extraordinary gentleness of the white, tremulous,
determined features, the child-like openness of the
broad forehead, the brilhant gentle deprecating
eyes, familiar handsome unknown kindliness gleam-
ing out between the high arch of rich black hair and
the small black sharply-pointed French beard ; the
change in the light of the cold room with the sound
of the warm deep voice ; the few well-chosen
struggling words ; scholarship ; that strange sense
that foreigners bring, of knowing and being known,
but without the irony of the French or the
plebeianism of Germans and Scandinavians, bring-
ing a consciousness of being on trial, but without
The trial would bring exposure. Reading and
discussion would reveal ignorance of English litera-
ture. . . .
The hour of sitting accepted as a student, talking
easily, the right phrases remembering themselves
in French and German, would not come again ; the
sudden outbreak of happiness after mentioning
Renan how had she suddenly known that he
made the Old Testament like a newspaper ?
Parfaitement ; j'ai toujours ete fort interesse dans
la philosophie. After reading so long ago, not
understanding at the time and knowing she would
only remember, without words, something that had
come from the pages. Perhaps that was how
students learned ; reading and getting only a
general impression and finding thoughts and words
years afterwards ; but then how did they pass
For that moment they had been students together,
exchanging photographs of their minds. That
could not come again. It was that moment that
had sent him away at the end of the lesson, plung-
ing lightly upstairs, brumming in his deep voice,
and left her singing in the drawing-room .... the
best way would be to consider him as something
superfluous, to be forgotten all day and presently,
perhaps quite soon, to disappear altogether. . . .
But before her exposure brought the lessons to an
end and sent him away to find people who were as
learned as he was, she would have heard more.
To-morrow he would bring down the Spinoza book.
But it was in German. They might begin with
Renan in English. But that would not be reading
English. He would demur and disapprove. English
literature. Stopford Brooke. He would think it
childish ; not sceptical enough. Matthew Arnold.
Emerson. Emerson would be perfect for reading ;
he would see that there was an English writer who
knew everything. It would postpone the news-
papers, and meanwhile she could find out who was
Prime Minister and something about the English
system of education. He must read Emerson ; one
could insist that it was the purest English and the
most beautiful. If he did not like it, it would
prove that his idea that the Russians and the
English were more alike than any other Europeans
was an illusion. Emerson ; and the Comet.
Mr. Shatov stood ceremoniously waiting and
bowing as on the previous evening, a stranger
again ; conversational interchange was far away at
the end of some chance opening that the hour
might not bring. Miriam clasped her volume ; she
could fill the time triumphantly in correcting his
accent and intonation, after a few remarks about
Confronting him she could not imagine him
related to Emerson. No continental could fully
appreciate Emerson ; except perhaps Maeterlinck.
It would have been better to try something more
simple, with less depth of truth in it. Darwin or
Shakespeare. But Shakespeare was poetry ; he
could not go about in England talking Shakespeare.
And Darwin was bad, for men.
He listened in his subdued controlled way to her
remark and again she saw him surrounded by his
world of foreign universities and professors, and
wondered for a sharp instant whether she were
betraying some dreadful English, middle-class,
newspaper ignorance ; perhaps there were no
longer any comets ; they were called by some other
name ... he might know whether there was still
a nebular theory and whether anything more had
been done about the electrical contact of metals
. . . that man in the Reveu des deux Mondes
saying that the first outbreak of American litera-
ture was unfortunately feminine. Mill thought
intuition at least as valuable as ratiocination ....
Mill ; he could read Mill. Emerson would be a
secret attack on him, an eloquent spokesman for
things no foreigner would agree with. " Ah yes,"
he said thoughtfully, " I always have had great
interest for astronomy, but now please tell me," he
lifted yesterday's radiant face. Had there been
yesterday that glow of crimson tie showing under
the point of his black beard and the gold watch-
chain across the blackness of his waistcoat ? " how
I shall obtain admission to the British Moozayum."
Mirian gave instructions delightedly. Mr. Shatov
hunched crookedly in his chair, his head thrown up
and listening towards her, his eyebrows raised as if
he were singing and on his firm small mouth the
pursed look of a falsetto note. His brown eyes were
filmed, staring averted, as if fixed on some far-away
thing that did not move ; it was like the expression
in the eyes of Mr. Helsing but older and less scorn-
ful. There was no scorn at all, only a weary
cynically burning knowledge, yet the eyes were
wide and beautiful with youth. Yesterday's look
of age and professorship had gone ; he was wearing
a little short coat ; in spite of the beard he was a
student, only just come from being one amongst
many, surrounded in the crowding sociable foreign
way ; it gave his whole expression a warmth ; the
edges of his fine soft richly-dented black hair, the
contours of his pale face, the careless hunching of hi$
clothes seemed in a strange generous way unknown
in England, at the disposal of his fellow-creatures.
Only in his eyes was the contradictory lonely look
of age. But when they came round to meet hers,
his head still reined up and motionless, she seemed
to face the chubby upright determination of a baby,
and the deep melancholy in the eyes was like the
melancholy of a puppy,
" Pairhaps," he said, " one of your doctors shall
sairtify me for a fit and proper person."
Miriam stared her double stupefaction. For a
moment, as if to give her time to consider his
suggestion, his smile remained, still deferential but
with the determined boldness of a naughty child
lurking behind it ; then his eyes fell, too soon to
catch her answering smile. She could not, with his
determined unaverted and now nervously quivering
face before her, either discourage the astounding
suggestion or resent his complacent possession of
information about ber.
" I should tell you," he apologised gently, " that
Mrs. Bailey has say me you are working in the
doctors' quarter of London."
" They are not doctors," said Miriam, feeling
stiffly English, and in her known post as dental
secretary utterly outside his world of privileged
studious adventure, " and you want a householder
who is known to you and not a hotel or boarding-
" That is very English. But no matter. Perhaps
it shall be sufficient that I am graduate."
" You could go down and see the librarian, you
must write a statement."
" That is an excellent idee."
" I am a reader, but not a householder."
" No matter. That is most excellent. You shall
pairhaps introduce me to this gentleman. Ah, that
is very good. I shall be most happy to find myself
in that institution. It is one of my heartmost
dreams of England to find myself in midst of
all these leeter-aytchoors When can we
There was a ring on the little finger of the hand
that drew from an inner pocket a limp leather
pocket-book ; pale old gold curving up to a small
pimple of jewels. The ringed hand moving
above the dip of the double watch-chain gave to
his youth a strange look of mellow wealthy middle
" Ah. I must write in English. Please tell me.
But shall we not go at once, this evanink ? "
" We can't ; the reading-room closes at eight."
" That is very English ; well ; tell me what I
Miriam watched as he wrote with a small quick
smoothly moving pencil. The pale gold of the
ring was finely chased. The small cluster of tiny
soft-toned pearls encircling and curving up to a
small point of diamond were set in a circlet of
enamel, a marvellous rich deep blue. She had her
Emerson ready when the writing was done.
" What is Emerson ? " he enquired, sitting back
to restore his book to its pocket. " I do not know
this writer." His reared head had again the look
of heady singing, young, confronting everything,
and with all the stored knowledge that can be
given to wealthy youth prepared to meet her
precious book. If he did not Hke it there was
something shallow in all the wonderful continental
knowledge ; if he found anything in it ; if he
understood it at all, they could meet on that one
little plot of equal ground ; he might even under-
stand her carelessness about all other books.
" He is an American," she said, desperately hand-
ing him the little green volume.
" A most nice little volume," he demurred, " but
I find it strandge that you offer me the book of an
" It is the most perfect English you could have.
He is a New Englander, a Bostonian ; the Pilgrim
Fathers ; they kept up the English of our best
period. The fifteenth century."
" That is most interesting," he said gravely,
turning the precious pages. " Why have I not
heard of this man ? In Russia we know of course
their Thoreau, he has a certain popularity amongst
extremists, and I know also of course their great
poet, Vitmann. I see that this is a kind of philo-
" You could not possibly have a better book for
style and phraseology in English, quite apart from
" iVo," he said, with reproachful gravity, " pre-
ciosity I cannot have."
Miriam felt out of her depth. "Perhaps you
won't like Emerson," she said, " but it will be good
practice for you. You need not attend to the
" Well, ach-ma, we shall try, but not this evanink ;
I have headache, we shall rather talk ; let us return
to the soobjects we have discussed yesterday."
He rested his elbows on the table, supporting his
chin on one hand, his beard askew, one eye reduced
to a slit by the bulge of his pushed up cheek, his
whole face suddenly pallid and heavy, sleepy-
" I am woj-^interested in philosophy," he said,
glowering warmly through his further, wide-open
eye. " It was very good to me. I found myself
most excited after our talk of yesterday. I think
you too were interested ? "
" Yes, wasn't it extraordinary ? " Miriam paused
to choose between the desire to confess her dread of
confronting a full-fledged student and a silence that
would let him go on talking while she contemplated
a series of reflections extending forward out of
sight from his surprising admission of fellowship.
It was so strange, an exhilaration so deep and throw-
ing such wide thought-inviting illumination, to
discover that he had found yesterday exceptional ;
that he too, with all his wonderful life, found
interest scattered only here and there. Mean-
while his eagerness to rekindle without fresh fuel,
the glow of yesterday, confessed an immaturity
that filled her with a tumult of astonished solici-
" You must let me correct your English to-day,"
she said, busily taking him with her voice by the
hand in a forward rush into the empty hour that was
to test, perhaps to destroy the achievement of
their first meeting. " Just now you said ' the sub-
jects we have discussed yesterday.' ' Have ' is the
indefinite past ; ' yesterday,' as you used it, is a
definite point of time ; passe defini, we discussed
yesterday. We have always discussed these things
on Thursdays. We always discussed these things on
Thursdays. Those two phrases have different
meanings. The first indefinite because it suggests
the discussions still going on, the second definite
referring to a fixed period of past time."
She had made her speech at the table and
glanced up at him apologetically. Marvelling at
her unexpected knowledge of the grammar of her
own tongue, called into being she supposed by the
jar of his inaccuracy, she had for a moment almost
forgotten his presence.
" I perceive," he said shifting his chin on his
hand to face her fully, with bent head and moving
beard-point ; his voice came again as strange, from
an immense distance ; he was there like a ghost ;
" that you are in spite of your denials a most
excellent institutrice. Ach-ma ! My English is
bad. You shall explain me all these complications
of English verb-mixing ; but to-night I am reeally
" It is all quite easy ; it only appears to be
" It shall be easy ; you have, I remark, a more
clear pure English than I have met ; and I am very
intelligent. It shall not be difliicult."
Miriam hid her laughter by gathering up one of
his books with a random question. But how brave.
Why should not people admit intelligence ?
It was a sort of pamphlet, in French.
" Ah, that is most interesting ; you shall at once
read it. He is a most intelligent man. I have hear
this lectchoor "
" I heard, I heard," cried Miriam.
" Yes ; but excuse a moment. Really it is
interstink. He is one of the most fine lecturours of
Sorbonne ; membre de 1' Academic ; the soobject
is 1' Attention. Ah it is better we shall speak in
" Nur auf deutsch kann man gut philosophieren,"
quoted Miriam disagreeing with the maxim and
hoping he would not ask where she had read it.
" That is not so ; that is a typical German
arrogance. The French have some most distin-
guished p-sychologues, Taine, and more recently,
Tarde. But listen."
Miriam listened to the description of the lecture.
For a while he kept to his careful slow English and
her attention was divided between her growing
interest in the nature of his mistakes, her desire to
tell him that she had discovered that he spoke
Norman English in German idiom with an intona-
tion that she supposed must be Russian, and the
fascination of watching for the fall of the dead-
white, black-fringed eyelids on to the brooding
face, between the framing of each sentence. When
he passed into French, led by a quotation which was
evidently the core of the lecture, she saw the
lecturer, and his circle of students and indignantly
belaboured him for making, and them for quietly
listening to the assertion that it is curious that the
human faculty of attention should have originated
Certainly she would not read the pamphlet.
However clever the man might be, his assumptions
about women made the carefully arranged and
solemnly received display of research, irntatingly
valueless. And Mr. Shatov seemed to agree, quite
as a matter of course. ..." Why should he be
surprised P " she said when he turned for her
approval. " How, surprised," he asked laughing,
an easy deep bass chuckle, drawing his small mouth
wide and up at the corners ; a row of small square
even teeth shining out.
" Ach-ma," he sighed, with shining eyes, looking
happily replete, "he is a great p-sycho-physiologiste,"
and passed on to eager narration of the events of
his week in Paris. Listening to the strange in-
flections of his voice, the curiously woven argu-
mentative sing-song tone, as if he were talking to
himself, broken here and there by words thrown
out with explosive vehemence, breaking defiantly
short as if to crush opposition in anticipation, and
then again the soft almost plaintive sing-song
beginning of another sentence, Miriam presently
heard him mention Max Nordau and learned that
he was something more than the author of Degen-
eration. He had written Die Conventionellen
Liigen der Kulturmenscheit, which she immedi-
ately must read. He had been to see him and found
a truly marvellous white-haired old man, with eyes,
alive ; so young and vigorous in his enthusiasm
that he made Mr. Shatov at twenty-two feel old.
After that she watched him from afar, set apart
from his boyhood, alone with her twenty-five
years on the borders of middle-age. There was the
secret of the youthful untested look that showed in
certain poses of his mature studious head. His
beard and his courtly manner and the grave balanced
intelligence of his eyes might have belonged to
a man of forty. Perhaps the Paris visit had been
some time ago. No ; he had come through France
for the first time on his way to England. . . .
She follow^ed him, growing weary with envy,
through his excursions in Paris with his father ;
went at last to the Louvre, mysterious grey build-
ing, heavy above a row of shops, shutting in works
of " art," in some extraordinary way understood,
and known to be " good " ; and woke to astonish-
ment to find him sitting alone, his father impatiently
gone back to the hotel, for an hour in motionless
contemplation of the Venus, having weft at the
first sight of her in the distance. The impression
of the Frenchman's lecture was driven away. All
the things she had heard of on these two evenings
were in the past.
He was in England now, through all the wonders
of his continental life, England had beckoned him.
Paris had been just a stage on his confident journey ;
and the first event of his London life would be
Saturday's visit to the British Museum. His eager
foreign interest would carry the visit off ... . and
she remembered, growing in the thought suddenly
animated towards his continued discourse, that
she could show him the Elgin Marbles.
The next evening, going down to the drawing-
room at the appointed time, Miriam found it empty
and lit only by the reflection from the street. .
Standing in the dim blue light she knew so well,
she passed through a moment of wondering whether
she had ever really sat talking in this room with
Mr. Shatov. It seemed so long ago. His mere
presence there had been strange enough ; youth
and knowledge and prosperity where for so long
there had been nothing but the occasional presence
of people who were in mysterious disgraceful
difficulties, and no speech but the so quickly
acrimonious interchange of those who are trying
to carry things off. Perhaps he was only late. She
lit the gas and leaving the door wide sat down to
the piano. The loose flatly vibrating shallow tones
restored her conviction that once more the house
was as before, its usual intermittent set of boarders,
coming punctually to meals, enduring each other
downstairs in the warmth until bedtime, disappear-
ing one by one up the unlighted stairs, having tea
up here on Sundays, and for her, the freedom of the
great dark house, the daily oblivion of moving about
in it, the approach up the quiet endlessly dreaming
old grey street in the afternoon, late at night, under
all the changes of season and of weather ; the empty
drawing-room that was hers every Sunday morning
with its piano, and always there at night within its
open door, inviting her into its blue-lit stillness ;
her room upstairs, alive now and again under some
chance spell of the weather, or some book which
made her feel that any life in London would be
endurable for ever that secured her room with its
evening solitude, now and again the sense of
strange fresh invisibly founded beginnings ; often
a cell of torturing mocking memories and appre-
hensions, driving her down into the house to hear
the dreadful voices, giving out in unchanged accents,
their unchanging words and phrases.
Someone had come into the room, bringing a
glow of life. She clung to her playing ; he need not
know that she had been waiting for him. A figure
was standing almost at her side ; with that voice
he would certainly be musical .... the sturdiness
and the plaintiveness were like the Russian sym-
phonies ; he could go to the Queen's Hall ; his
being late for the lesson had introduced music. . . .
She broke off and turned to see Sissie Bailey,
waiting with sullen politeness to speak. Mr. Shatov
was out. He had gone out early in the afternoon
and had not been seen since. In Sissie's sullenly
worried expression Miriam read the Baileys' fear
that they had already lost hold of their helpless new
boarder. She smiled her acceptance and suggested
that he had met friends. Sissie remained grimly
responseless and presently turned to go. Resuming
her playing, Miriam wondered bitterly where he
could have lingered, so easily dropping his lesson.
What did it matter .? Sooner or later he was bound
to find interests ; the sooner the better. But she
could not go on playing ; the room was cold and
black ; horribly empty and still. . . . Mrs. Bailey
would know where he had set out to go this after-
noon ; she would have directed him. She played
on zealously for a decent interval, closed the piano
and went downstairs. In the dining-room was
Sissie, alone, mending a table-cloth.
To account for her presence Miriam enquired
whether Mrs. Bailey were out. " Mother's lying
down," said Sissie sullenly, " she's got one of her
headaches." Mhiam sympathised. " I want her
to have the doctor ; it's no use going on like this."
Miriam was drawn irresistibly towards Mrs. Bailey,
prostrate in her room with her headache. She
went down the hall feeling herself young and full
of eager strength, sinking with every step deeper
and deeper into her early self ; back again by Eve's
bedside at home, able to control the paroxysms of
pain by holding her small head grasped in both
hands ; she recalled the strange persistent strength
she had felt, sitting with her at night, the happiness
of the moments when the feverish pain seemed to
run up her own arms and Eve relaxed in relief,
the beautiful unfamiliar darkness of the midnight
hours, the curious sharp savour of the incompre-
hensible book she had read lying on the floor by
the little beam of the nightlight. She could surely
do something for Mrs. Bailey ; meeting her thus for
the first time without the barrier of conversation ;
at least she could pit her presence and her sympathy
against the pain. She tapped at the door of the
little room at the end of the passage. Presently
a muffled voice sounded and she went in. A sense
of release enfolded her as she closed the door of
the little room ; it was as if she had stepped off the
edge of her life, out into the wide spaces of the
world. The room was lit feebly by a small lamp
turned low within its smoky chimney. Its small
space was sD crowded that for a moment she could
make out no recognisable bedroom shape ; then a
figure rose and she recognised Mr. Gunner standing
by a low camp bedstead. It's Miss Henderson he
said quietly. There was a murmur from the bed
and Miriam bending over it saw Mrs. Bailey's
drawn face, fever-flushed, with bright wild eyes.
" We think she ought to have a doctor," murmured
Mr. Gunner. " M'm " said Miriam absently.
" Good of you," murmured Mrs. Bailey thickly.
Miriam sat down in the chair Mr. Gunner had
left and felt for Mrs. Bailey's hands. They were
cold and trembling. She clasped them firmly and
Mrs. Bailey sighed. " Perhaps you can persuade
her," murmured Mr. Gunner. " M'm " Miriam
murmured. He crept away on tiptoe. Mrs.
Bailey sighed more heavily. " Have you tried
anything ? " said Miriam dreamily, out into the
The room was full of unsightly necessaries, all
old and in various stages of dilapidation, the over-
flow of the materials that maintained in the rest of
the house the semblance of ordered boarding-
house life. But there was something vital, even
cheerful in the atmosphere ; conquering the
oppression of the crowded space. The aversion
with which she had contemplated, at a distance,
the final privacies of the Baileys behind the scenes,
was exorcised. In the house itself there was no
life ; but there was brave life battling in this room.
Mrs. Bailey would have admitted her at any time,
with laughing apologies. Now that her entry had
been innocently achieved, she found herself re-
joicing in the disorder, sharing the sense Mrs.
Bailey must have, every time she retired to this
lively centre, of keeping her enterprise going for yet
one more day. She saw that to Mrs. Bailey the house
must appear as an)^thing but a failure and the lack
of boarders nothing but unaccountable bad luck.
" A compress, or hot fomentations, hot fomenta-
tions could not do harm and they might be very
" Whatever you think my dear ; good of you "
murmured Mrs. Bailey feebly. " Not a bit " said
Miriam looking about wondering how she should
carry out, in her ignorance, this mysteriously
suggested practical idea. There was a small fire
in the little narrow fireplace, with a hob on either
side. Standing up she caught sight of a circular
willow pattern sink basin with a tap above it and a
cupboard below set in an alcove behind a mound of
odds and ends. The room was meant for a sort of
kitchen or scullery ; and it had been the doctors'
only sitting-room. How had the four big tall men,
with their table and all their books, managed to
crowd themselves in ?
In the dining-room Sissie responded with uncon-
cealed astonishment and gratitude to Miriam's
suggestions and bustled off for the needed materials,
lingering, when she brought them, to make useful
suggestions, affectionately controlling Mrs, Bailey's
feeble efforts to help in the arrangements, and
staying to supply Miriam's needs, a little compact
As long as the hot bandages were held to her
head Mrs. Bailey seemed to find relief and presently
began to murmur complaints of the trouble she
was giving. Miriam, longing to sing, threatened
to withdraw unless she would remain untroubled
until she was better, or weary of the treatment,
At ten o'clock she was free from pain, but her feet
and limbs were cold.
" You ought to have a pack all over," said Miriam
" That's what I felt when you began," agreed
" Of course. It's the even temperature. I've
never had one, but we were all brought up
homeopathically." Sissie went away to make
" Was you ? " said Mrs. Bailey drawing herself
into a sitting posture. Miriam launched into
eager description of the little chest with its tiny
bottles of pilules and tinctures and the small
violet-covered book about illnesses strapped into
its lid ; the home-life all about her as she talked.
. . . Belladonna ; aconite ; she was back amongst
her earliest recollections, feeling small and swollen
and feverish ; Mrs. Bailey, sitting up, with her
worn glad patient face seemed to her more than
ever like her mother ; and she could not believe
that the lore of the book and the little bottles did not
reside with her.
" Aconite," said Mrs. Bailey, " that was in the
stuff the doctor give me when I was so bad last
year." That was all new and modern. Mrs.
Bailey must see if she could only rapidly paint
them for her, the home scenes all about the
" They use those things in the British Phar-
macopcEia, but they pile them in in bucketsful
with all sorts of minerals " she said provisionally,
holding to her pictures while she pondered for a
moment over the fact that she had forgotten until
to-night that she was a homeopath.
Mr. Gunner came quietly in with Sissie and the
tea, making a large party distributed almost
invisibly in the gloom beyond the circle of dim
lamplight. There was a joyful urgency of com-
munication in the room. But the teacups were filled
and passed round before the accumulated inter-
course broke through the silence in a low-toned
remark. It seemed to come from everyone and to
bear within it all the gentle speech that had sounded
since the world began ; light spread outward and
onward from the darkened room.
Taking her share in the remarks that followed,
Miriam marvelled. Unqualified and unprepared,
utterly undeserving as she felt, she was aware,
within the controlled tone of her slight words, of
something that moved her, as she listened, to a
strange joy. It was within her, but not herself ;
an unknown vibrating moulding force
When Sissie went away with the tea-things,
Mr. Gunner came to the bedside to take leave.
Sitting on the edge of the bed near Miriam's chair
he bent murmuring ; Miriam rose to go ; Mrs.
Bailey's hand restrained her. " I think you know "
whispered Mr. Gunner, " what we are to each
other." Miriam made no reply ; there was a
golden suffusion before her eyes, about the grey
pillow. Mrs. Bailey was clutching her hand.
She bent and kissed the hollow cheek, receiving
on her own a quick eager mother's kiss, and turned
to offer her free hand to Mr. Gunner who painfully
wrung it in both his own. Outside in the darkness
St. Pancras clock was striking. She felt a sudden
sadness. What could they know of each other ?
What could any man and woman know of each
When Mr. Gunner had gone and she was alone
with Mrs. Bailey, the trouble lifted. It was Mrs.
Bailey who had permitted it, she who would steer
and guide, and she was full of wisdom and strength.
She could imerringly guide anyone through any-
thing. But how had she arrived at permitting such
an extraordinary thing ?
" Poor boy," sighed Mrs. Bailey.
" Why poor boy ? Nothing of the sort," said
" Well, it's a comfort to me you think that ;
I've worried meself ill over him. I've been keeping
him off for over a twelvemonth."
" Well, it's all settled now so you needn't worry
" It's his age I look to ; he's only two and
twenty," flushed Mrs. Bailey.
" He looks older than that."
" He does look more than his age, I allow ; he
never had any home ; his father married a second
time ; he says this is the first home he's had ; he's
never been so happy." All the time he had been
halting about in the evenings in the dining-room,
never going out and seeming to have nothing to do
but a sort of malicious lying-in-wait to make
facetious remarks, he had been feeling at home,
happy at home, and growing happier and happier.
Poor little man, at home in nothing but the dining-
room at Tansley Street. . . . Mrs. Bailey. ....
Was he good enough for her ? She had not always
liked or even approved of him.
" Well ; that's lovely. Of course he has been
" That's all very well for the past ; but there's
many breakers ahead. He wants me to give up and
have a little home of our own. But there's my
chicks. I can't give up till they're settled. I've
told him that. I can't do less than my duty by
" Of course not. He's a dear. I think he's
splendid." But how generously glowing the
struggling house seemed now ; compared to a
life alone, in some small small corner, with Mr.
" Bless 'im. He's only a clurk, poor boy, at
" Of course clerks don't make much ; unless they
have languages. He ought to learn one or two lan-
" He's not over strong. It's not money I'm
thinking of — " she flushed and hesitated and then
said with a girlish rush, " I'd manage ; once I'm
free ; I'd manage. I'd work my fingers to the bone
for 'im." Marvellous, for a little man who would
go on writing yours of yesterday's date to hand as
per statement enclosed ; nothing in his day but his
satisfaction in the curves and flourishes of his
handwriting . . . and then home comforts, Mrs.
Bailey always there, growing more worn and ill and
old ; an old woman before he was thirty.
" But that won't be for a long time yet ; though
Polly's doing splendid."
" Is she ? "
*' Well, I oughtn't to boast. But they've wrote
me she's to be pupil-teacher next year."
" Polly P "
" Polly," bridled Mrs. Bailey and laughed with
shining eyes. " The chahld's not turned fifteen yet,
dear little woman blesser." Miriam winced ; poor
little Polly Bailey, to die so soon, without know-
" Oh, that's magnificent." Perhaps it was
magnificent. Perhaps a Bailey would not feel
cheated and helpless. Polly would be a pupil-
teacher, perkily remaining her same self, a miniature
of Mrs. Bailey, already full of amused mysterious
knowledge and equal to every occasion.
Mrs. Bailey smiled shyly, " She's like her poor
mother ; she's got a will of her own." Miriam sat
at ease within the tide. . . . where did women find
the insight into personality that gave them such
extraordinary prophetic power ? She herself had
not an atom of it. Perhaps it was matronhood ;
and Mary hid all these things in her heart. No ;
aunts often had it, even more than matrons ; Mrs.
Bailey was so splendidly controlled that she was an
aunt as well as a mother to the children. She
contemplated the sharply ravaged little head,
reared and smiling above the billows of what
people called ' misfortunes ' by her conscious and
self-confessed strength of will ; yes, and un-
conscious fairness and generosity, reflected Miriam
and an immovable sense of justice. All these years
of scraping and contrivance had not corrupted Mrs.
Bailey ; she ought to be a judge, and not Mr.
Gunner's general servant. . . . Justice is a woman ;
blindfolded ; seeing from the inside and not led
away by appearances ; men invent systems of
ethics, but they cannot weigh personality ; they
have no individuality, only conformity or non-
conformity to abstract systems ; yet it was im-
possible to acknowledge the power of a woman,
of any woman she had ever known, without
becoming a slave ; or to associate with one, except
in a time of trouble ; but in her deliberate excursion
into this little room she was free ; all her life lay
far away, basking in freedom ; spreading out and
out, illimitable ; each space and part a full cup on
which no hand might be laid .... that little man
was just a curious foreign voice, which would
presently rouse her impatience .... and just now
he had seemed so near. . . . Was she looking at him
with Mrs. Bailey's eyes ? Mrs. Bailey would say,
" oh yes, I think he's a very nice little man."
Beyond his distinction as a well-to-do boarder, he
would have, in her eyes, nothing to single him out ;
she would respect his scholarship, but regarding it
as a quality peculiar to certain men ; and without
the knowledge that it was in part an accident of
circumstance. She would see beyond it ; she would
never be prostrate before it.
But the distant vision of the free life was not
Mrs. Bailey's vision ; there was something there she
could not be made to understand, and would in any
way there were words that tried to express it,
certainly not approve. Yet why did it come so
strongly here in her room ? The sense of it was
here, somewhere in their intercourse, but she was
unconscious of it Miriam plumbed about
in the clear centre — where without will or plan or
any shapely endeavour in her life, she was yet so
strangely accepted and indulged. Mrs. Bailey was
glancing back at her from the depths of her abode,
her face busy in control of the rills of laughter
sparkling in her eyes and keeping, Miriam knew, as
she moved, hovering, and saw the fostering light
they shed upon the world, perpetual holiday ; the
reassuring inexhaustible substance of Mrs. Bailey's
" It's Sissie I worry about," said Mrs. Bailey.
Miriam attended curiously. " She's like her dear
father ; keeps herself to herself and goes on ;
she's a splendid little woman in the house ; but I
feel she ought to be doing something more. "
" She's awfully capable " said Miriam.
" She is. There's nothing she can't turn her
hand to. She'll have the lock off a door and mend
it and put it on again and put in a pane of glass
neater than a workman and no mess or fuss."
Miriam sat astonished before the expanding ac-
cumulation of qualities.
" I don't know how I should spare her ; but she's
not satisfied here ; I've been wondering if I
couldn't manage to put her into the typing."
" There's isn't much prospect there " recited
Miriam, " the supply is bigger than the de-
" That it so " assented Mrs. Bailey ; " but I sec
it like this ; where there's a will there's a way and
one has to make a beginning." Mrs. Bailey had
made up her mind. Quite soon Sissie would know
typewriting ; a marketable accomplishment ; she
would rank higher in the world than a dental
secretary ; a lady typist with a knowledge of French.
That would be her status in an index. No doubt in
time she would learn shorthand. She would go
capably about, proud of her profession ; with a
home to live in, comfortably well off on fifteen
shillings a week ; one of the increasing army of
confident illiterate young women in the city ; no,
Sissie would not be showy ; she would bring life
into some ofHce, amongst men as illiterate as her-
self ; as soon as she had picked up " yours to
hand " she would be reliable and valuable
Sissie, with a home, and without putting forth any
particular effort, would have a place in the
" I'll make some inquiries " said Miriam cheer-
fully. Mrs. Bailey thanked her with weary eager-
ness ; she was flushed and flagging ; the evening's
work was being cancelled by the fascination which
had allowed her to go on talking. She admitted a
return of her neuralgia and Miriam, remorseful and
weary, made her lie down again. She looked
dreadfully ill ; like someone else ; she would go off
to sleep looking hke someone else, or lie until the
morning, with plans going round and round in her
head and get up, managing to be herself until
breakfast was over. But all the time, she had a
house to be in. She was Mrs. Bailey ; a recognised
centre. Miriam sat alone, the now famihar little
room added to the strange collection of her in-
expHcable Hfe ; its lamplit walls were dear to her,
with the extraordinary same dearness of all walls
seen in tranquillity. She seemed to be responding
to their gaze. Had she answered Mrs. Bailey's
murmur about going to bed ? It seemed so long
ago. She sat until the lamp began to fail and Mrs.
Bailey appeared to be going to sleep. She crept out
at last into the fresh still darkness of the sleeping
house. On the first floor there was a glimmer of
blue light. It was the street lamp shining in
through Mr. Shatov's wide-open empty room.
When she reached her own room she found that it
was one o'clock. Already he had found his way to
some horrible haunt. She wrapped her evening
round her, parrying the thought of him. There
should be no lesson to-morrow. She would be out,
having left no message.
When she came in the next evening he was in
the hall. He came forward with his bearded
courteous emphatically sweeping foreign bow ; a
foreign professor bowing to an audience he was
about to address. Bittc verzeihen Sie, he began,
his rich low tones a little breathless ; the gong
blared forth just behind him ; he stood rooted,
holding her with respectful melancholy gaze as his
lips went on forming their German sentences. The
clangour died down ; people were coming down-
stairs drawing Miriam's gaze as he moved from their
pathway into the dining-room, still facing her with
the end of his little speech lingering nervously on
his features. He was in his frock-coat and shone
richly black and white under the direct lamplight ;
he was even more handsome than she had thought,
solidly beautiful, glowing in shapely movement as
he stood still and gestureless before her, set off by
the shapelessly moving, dinner drawn forms passing
into the dining-room. She smiled in response to
whatever he may have said and wondered, having
apologised for yesterday, in what way he w^ould
announce to her the outside engagement for this
evening for which he was so shiningly prepared.
" Zo," he said gravely, " if you are now free, I will
almost immediately come up ; we shall not wait
till eight o'clock." Miriam bowed in response to
the sweeping obeisance with which he turned into
the dining-room, and ran upstairs. He came up
before the end of the first course, before she had had
time to test in the large overmantel the shape of
her hair that had seemed in the little mirror
upstairs, accidentally good, quite like the hair of
someone who mysteriously knew how to get good
" I have been sleeping," he said in wide cheerful
tones as he crossed the room, " all day until now.
I am a little stupid ; but I have very many things to
say you. First I must say you," he said more
gravely and stood arrested with his coat tails
in his hands, in front of the chair opposite to
hers at a little table, " that your Emerson is most-
Miriam could not believe she had heard the deep-
toned emphatic words. She stared stupidly at
his unconscious thoughtful brow ; for a strange
moment feeling her own thoughts and her own
outlook behind it. She felt an instant's pang of
disappointment ; the fine brow had lost something.
seemed familiar, almost homely. But an immense
relief was surging through her. " No — Ree — ally,
most-wonderful," he reiterated with almost re-
proachful emphasis, sitting down with his head
eagerly forward between his shoulders, waiting for
her response. " Yes, isnH he ? " she said encourag-
ingly and waited in a dream while he sat back and
drew little volumes from his pocket, his white eye-
lids downcast below his frowning brow. Would he
qualify his praise ? Had he read enough to come
upon any of the chills and contradictions ? How-
ever this might be, Emerson had made upon this
scholarly foreigner, groping in him with his scanty
outfit of language, an overwhelming impression.
Her own lonely overwhelming impression was
justified. The eyes came up again, gravely earnest.
" No," he said, " I find it most difficult to express
the profound impression this reading have made
" He isn't a bit original," said Miriam surprised
by her unpremeditated conclusion, " when you
read him you feel as if you were following your own
" That is so ; he is not himself philosophe ; I
would call him rather, poete ; a most remarkable
quality of English, great dignity and with at the
same time a most perfect simplicity."
" He understands everything ; since I have had
that book I have not wanted to read anything else
.... except Maeterlinck " she murmured in
afterthought, " and in a way he is the same."
" I do not know this writer " said Mr. Shatov,
" and what you say is perhaps not quite good. But
in a manner I can have some sympa-thaytic appry-
siacion with this remark. I have read yesterday the
v^^hole day ; on different omnibuses. Ah. It was
for me most-wondeihii.'^
" Well, I always feel, all the time, all day, that if
people would only read Emerson they would under-
stand, and not be like they are, and that the only
way to make them understand what one means
would be reading pieces of Emerson."
" That is true ; why should you not do it ? "
" Quotations are feeble ; you always regret
" No ; I do not agree," said Mr. Shatov devoutly
smiling, " you are wrong."
" Oh, but think of the awful people who quote
" Ach-ma. People are, in general, silly. But I
must tell you you should not cease to read until you
shall have read at least some Russian writers. If you
possess sensibility for language you shall find that
Russian is ww^beautiful ; it is perhaps the most
beautiful European language ; it is, indubitably,
the most rich."
" It can't be richer than English."
" Certainly, it is richer than English. I shall
prove this to you, even with dictionary. You shall
find that it occur, over and over, that where in
English is one word, in Russian is six or seven
different, all synonyms, but all with most delicate
individual shades of nuance .... the abstractive
expression is there, as in all civilised European
languages, but there is also in Russian the most
immense variety of natural expressions, coming
forth from the strong feeling of the Russian nature
to all these surrounding influences ; each word
opens to a whole aper^u in this sort .... and
what is most significant is, the great richness, in
Russia, of the people-language ; there is no other
people-language similar ; there is in no one
language so immense a variety of tender diminutives
and intimate expressions of all natural things. None
is so rich in sound or so marvellously powerfully
colourful That is Russian. Part of the
reason is no doubt to find in the immense paysage ;
Russia is zo vast ; it is inconceivable for any non-
Russian. There is also the ethnological explanation,
the immense vigour of the people."
Miriam went forward in a dream. As Mr.
Shatov's voice went on, she forgot everything but
the need to struggle to the uttermost against the
quiet strange attack upon English ; the double line
of evidence seemed so convincing and was for the
present unanswerable from any part of her small
store of knowledge ; but there must be an answer ;
meantime the suggestion that the immense range
of English was partly due to its unrivalled collection
of technical terms, derived from English science,
commerce, sports, " all the practical life-man-
oeuvres " promised vibrating reflection, later.
But somewhere outside her resentful indignation,
she found herself reaching forward unresentfully
towards something very far-off, and as the voice
went on, she felt the touch of a new strange
presence in her Europe. She listened, watching
intently, far-off, hearing now only a voice, moving
on, without connected meaning. . . . The strange
thing that had touched her was somewhere within
the voice ; the sound of Russia. So much more
strange, so much wider and deeper than the sound
of German or French or any of the many tongues
she had heard in this house, the inpouring impression
was yet not ahen. It was not foreign. There was no
barrier between the Hfe in it and the sense of
life that came from within. It expressed that
sense ; in the rich, deep various sound and colour
of its inflections, in the strange abruptly controlled
shapeliness of the phrases of tone carrying the
whole along, the voice was the very quality he had
described, here, alive : about her in the room. It
was, she now suddenly heard, the disarming,
unforeign thing in the voice of kind commercial
little Mr. Rodkin. Then there was an answer.
There was something in common between English
.and this strange language that stood alone in
Europe. She came back and awoke to the moment,
weary. Mr. Shatov had not noticed her absence.
He was talking about Russia. Unwillingly she gave
her flagging attention to the Russia already in her
mind ; a strip of silent sunlit snow, just below
Finland, St. Petersburg in the midst of it, rounded
squat square white architecture piled solidly
beneath a brilliant sky, low sledges smoothly gliding,
drawn by three horses, bell-spanned, running
wildly abreast, along the silent streets or out into
the deeper silence of dark, snow-clad wolf-haunted
forests that stretched indefinitely down the map ;
and listened as he drew swift pictures, now north,
now south. Vast outlines emerged faintly, and
here and there a patch remained, vivid. She saw
the white nights of the northern winter, felt the
breaking through of spring in a single day. Whilst
she lingered at Easter festivals in churches, all rich
deep colour blazing softly through clouds of
incense, and imagined the mighty sound of Russian
singing, she was carried away to villages scattered
amongst great tracts of forest, unimaginable dis-
tances of forest, the vast forests of Germany small
and homely each village a brilliant miniature
of Russia, in every hut a holy image ; brilliant colour-
ing of stained carved wood, each peasant a striking
picture, filling the eye in the clear light, many
" most-dignified " ; their garments coloured with
natural dyes, " the most pure plant-stain colours,"
deep and intense. She saw the colours, mat and
sheenless, yet full of light, taking the light in and in,
richly, and turned grievously to the poor cheap
tones in all the western shops, clever shining
chemical dyes, endless teasing variety, without
depth or feeling, cheating the eye of life ; and back
again homesick to the rich tones of reality
She passed down the winding sweep of the Volga,
a consumptive seeking health, and out into the
southern plains where wild horses roamed at large,
and stayed at a lodge facing towards miles and
miles of shallow salt water, sea-gull haunted, and
dotted with floating islands of reeds, so matted and
interwoven that one could get out from the little
shallow leaky fishing-boat and walk upon them ; and
over all a crystal air so life-giving that one recovered.
She heard the peasants in the south singing in
strong deep voices, dancing by torchlight a wild
dance with a name that described the dance. . . .
Throughout the recital were vivid words, each a
picture of the thing it expressed. She would never
forget them. Russia was recognisable. So was
ever)^ language .... but no foreign sound had
brought her such an effect of strength and musical
beauty and expressiveness combined. That was it.
It was the strange number of things that were
together in Russian that was so wonderful. In the
end, back again in England, sitting in the cold
dilapidated room before the table of little books,
weary, opposite Mr. Shatov comfortably groaning
and stretching, his eyes already brooding in pursuit
of something that would presently turn into
speech, she struggled feebly with a mournful
uneasiness that had haunted the whole of the
irrevocable expansion of her consciousness. A
German, not a Russian ethnologist, and therefore
without prejudice, had declared that the Russians
were the strongest kinetic force in Europe. He
proved himself disinterested by saying that the
English came next. The English were " simple
and fundamentally sound." Not intelligent ; but
healthy in will, which the Russians were not. Then
why were the Russians more forceful ? What was
kinetic force ? And . . . mystery .... the
Russians themselves knew what they were like.
" There is in Russia except in the governing and
bourgeois classes almost no hypocrisy." What was
kinetic. . . And religion was an " actual force "
in Russia ! " What is ki "
" Ah but you shall at least read some of our great
Russian authors .... at least Tourgainyeff and
" Of course I have heard of Tolstoy."
" Ah, but you shall read. He has a most profound
knowledge of human psychology ; the most
marvellous touches. In that he rises to univer-
sality. Tourgainyev is more pure Russian, less to
understand outside Russia ; more academical ; but
he shall reveal you most admirably the Russian
aristocrat. He is cynic satirical."
" Then he can't reveal anything^'* said Miriam.
Here it was again ; Mr. Shatov, too, took satire
quite unquestioningly ; thought it a sort of
achievement, worthy of admiration. Perhaps if
she could restrain her anger, she would hear at least
in some wonderful explanatory continental phrase,
what satire really was, and be able to settle with
herself why she knew it was in the long run, waste
of time ; why the word satirist suggested someone
with handsome horns and an evil clever eye and
thin cold lingers. Thin. Swift was probably fear-
fully thin. Mr. Shatov was smiling incredulously.
If he went on to explain she would miss the more
important worrying thing. Novels. It was extra-
ordinary that he should. . . .
" I don't care for novels. . . I can't see what
they arc about. They seem to be an endless fuss
" That may apply in certain cases. But it is a
too extreme statement."
" It is extreme. Why not ? How can a state-
ment be too extreme if it is true ? "
" I cannot express an opinion on English novel-
istic writings. But of Tolstoy it is certainly not
true. 'No ; it is not in general true that in fictional
representations there is no actuality. I have read
with my first English teacher in Moscow a story of
your Myne-Reade. There was in this story a
Scotch captain who remained for me most typical
British. He was very fine this chap. This presenta-
tion here made me the more want what I have want
always since a boy ; to come to England." Was
Mayne Reade a novelist ? Those boys' stories were
glorious. But they were about the sea ; and
the fifth form ..." a noble three-bladed knife,
minus the blades "
" There's a thing called the Ebb-Tide," she
began, wondering how she could convey her im-
pression of the tropical shore ; but Mr. Shatov's
attention, though polite, was wandering, " I've
read some of Gorki's short stories," she finished
briskly. They were not novels ; they were alive in
some way English books were not. Perhaps all
Russian books were. . .
" Ah Gorrrki. He is come out direct from the
peasantry ; very powerfully strange and rough
presentations. He may be called the apostle of
. . . the bakery and the yard ; the fighting
eagles, the old man at the prow of the boat with
his daughter-in-law. . . . All teaching something.
How did people find it out ?
" But really I must tell you of yesterday " said
Mr. Shatov warmly. " I have made a Schach-
Partei. That was for me very good. It include
also a certain exploration of London. That is for
me I need not say most fascinatinky Miriam
listened eagerly. The time was getting on ; they
had done no work. She had not once corrected him
and he was plunging into his preHminary story as
if their hour had not yet begun. She was to
share. . .
" There was on one of these many omnibuses a
gentleman who tell me where in London I shall
obtain a genuine coffee. Probably you know it is at
this Vienna Cafe, in Holeborne. You do not know
this place ? Stra?ige. It is quite near to you all the
time. Almost at your British Museum. Ah ; this
gentleman has told me too a most funny story of a
German who go there proudly talking English. He
was waiting ; ach they are very slow in this place,
and at last he shouts for everyone to hear, Vaiter !
Venn shall I become a cup of coffee ? "
Miriam laughed her delight apprehensively.
" Ah, I like very much these stories," he was saying,
his eyes dreamily absent, she feared, on a memory-
vista of similar anecdotes. But in a moment he was
alive again in his adventure. " It was at London
Bridge. I have come all the way, walkingly, to this
Cafe. It is a strange place. Really glahnend ;
Viennese ; very dirrty. But coffee most excellent ;
just as on the Continent. You shall go there ; you
will see. Upstairs it is most dreadful. More
dirrty ; and in an intense gloom of smoke, very
many men, ah they are dreadful, I could not
describe to you. Like monkeys ; but all in Schach-
parteis. That shall be very good for me. I am
most enthusiastic with this game since a boy."
" BilHards ? "
Why should he look so astonished and impatiently
explain so reproachfully and indulgently ? She
grasped the meaning of the movements of his
hands. He was a chess-player " a game much
older — uralt — and the most mental, the only
true abstractive game." How differently an
English chess-player would have spoken. She
regarded his eager contained liveliness. Russian
chess players remained alive. Was chess mental ?
Pure tactics. Should she declare that chess was a
dreadful boring indulgence, leading nowhere ?
Perhaps he would be able to show her that this was
not so. . . . Why do the Germans call two people
playing chess a chess-party ? " I have met there a
fnan, a Polish doctor. We have made party and
have play until the Cafe close, when we go to his
room and continue there to play till the morning.
Ah, it was most-beautiful."
" Had you met him before ? "
" Oh no. He is in London ; stewdye-ink
" Studdymg,^' said Miriam impatiently, lost in
incredulous contemplation. It could not be true
that he had sat all night playing chess with a
stranger. If it were true, they must both be quite
insane the door was opening. Sissie's
voice, and Mr. Shatov getting up with an eager
polite smile. Footsteps crossing the room behind
her ; Mr. Shatov and a tall man shaking hands on
the hearthrug ; two inextricable voices ; Mr.
Shatov's presently emerging towards her, deferen-
tially, " I present you Dr. Veslovski." The Polish
doctor, gracefully bowing from a cold narrow
height, Mr. Shatov, short, dumpy, deeply-radiant
little friend, between them ; making a little speech.
turning from one to the other. The Polish head
was reared again on its still cold grey height ;
undisturbed. . . . Perfect. Miriam had never
seen anything so perfectly beautiful. Every line of
the head and face harmonious ; the pointed beard
finishing the lines with an expressiveness that made
it also a feature, one with the rest. Even the
curious long narrow capless flatly lying foreign
boots, furrowed with mud-stiffened cracks, and
the narrowly cut, thin, shabby grey suit shared the
distinction of the motionless reined-in head.
Polish beauty. If that were Polish beauty the
Poles were the most beautiful people in Europe.
Polish ; the word suggested the effect, its smooth
liquid sheen, sinuous and graceful without weakness
.... the whole word was at home in the eyes ;
horribly beautiful, abysses of fathomless foreign
. . . any kind of known happenings were unthink-
able behind those eyes .... yet he was here ; come
to play chess with Mr. Shatov who had not ex-
pected him until Sunday, but would go now
immediately with her permission, to fetch his set
from upstairs. She lingered as he hurried away,
glancing at the little books on the table. The
Emerson was not among them. The invisible
motionless figure on the hearthrug had brought
her a message she had forgotten in her annoyance
at his intrusion. Going from the room towards
his dim reflection in the mirror near the door she
approached the waiting thought — Mr. Shatov's
voice broke in, talking eagerly to Mrs. Bailey on the
floor below. From the landing she heard him beg
that it might be some large vessel, quite voll tea ;
some drapery to enfold it, and that the gazz might
be left alight. They were going to play chess,
through the night, in that cold room .... but
the thought was gladly there. The Polish doctor's
presence had confirmed Mr. Shatov's story. It
had not been a young man's tale to cover an
SHE hurried through her Saturday morning's
work, trying to keep warm. Perhaps it was
nervousness and excitement about the afternoon's
appointment that made her seem so cold. At the
end of her hour's finicking work in Mr. Hancock's
empty fireless room, amongst cold instruments and
chilly bottles of chemicals she was cold through.
There was no one in the house but Mr. Leyton and
the cousin ; nothing to support her against the
coming ordeal. Mr. Leyton had had an empty
morning and spent it busily scrubbing and polish-
ing instruments in his warm little room ; retiring
towards lunch time to the den fire with a news-
paper. Shivering over her ledgers in the cold
window space, she bitterly resented her inability
to go out and get warm in an A.B.C. before meeting
Mr. Shatov in the open. Impossible. It could not
be afforded ; though this morning all the absolutely
essential work could be finished by one o'clock.
It was altogether horrible. She was not sure that
she was even supposed to stay for lunch on Satur-
day. The day ended at one o'clock ; unless she
were kept"by some urgent business, there was no
excuse. To-day she must have finished everything
before lunch to keep her appointment. It could not
be helped ; and at least there was no embarrassment
in the presence of Mr. Leyton and the boy. She
would even lock up and put on her outdoor things
and go down in them. It would not occur to them
that she need not have stayed to lunch .... her
spirits rose as she moved about putting things in the
safe. She dressed in Mr. Leyton's warm room,
washing her hands in very hot water, thawing,
getting warm .... the toque looked nice in his
large mirror, quite stylish, not so home made
worldly people always had lunch in their
outdoor things, even when they were staying in
a house. Sarah said people ought always to wear
hats, especially with evening dress picture
hats, with evening dress, made pictures. It was
true, they would, when you thought of it. But
Sarah had found it out for herself ; without
opportunities ; it came, out of her mind through
her artistic eyes. . Miriam recalled smart middle-
aged women at the Corries, appearing at lunch in
extraordinary large hats, when they had not been
out ; that was the reason. It helped them to carry
things off ; made them talk well and quickly, with
the suggestion that they had just rushed in from
somewhere or were just going to rush off. . . .
She surveyed herself once more. It was true ; lunch
even with Mr. Leyton and the cousin would be
easier with the toque and her black coat open show-
ing the white neckerchief. It gave an impression
of hurry and gaiety. She was quite ready and
looked about for entertainment for the remaining
moments. Actually ; a book lying open on Mr.
Leyton's table, a military drill-book of course.
No. What was this. Wondrous Woman, by
J. B. G. Smithson. Why so many similar English
initials ? Jim, Bill, George, a superfluity of mannish-
ness ... an attack of course ; she scanned pages
and headings ; chapter upon chapter of peevish
facetiousness ; the whole book written deliberately
against women. Her heart beat angrily. What was
Mr. Leyton doing with such a book .? Where had
it come from ? She read swiftly, grasping the argu-
ment. The usual sort of thing ; worse, because it
was colloquial, rushing along in modern everyday
language and in some curious way not badly
written. . . .
Because some women had corns, feminine beauty
was a myth ; because the world could do without
Mrs. Hemans' poetry, women should confine
their attention to puddings and babies. The
infernal complacent cheek of it. This was the kind
of thing middle-class men read. Unable to criticise
it, they thought it witty and unanswerable. That
was the worst of it. Books of this sort were read
without anyone there to point things out. ... It
ought to be illegal to publish a book by a man
without first giving it to a woman to annotate.
But what was the answer to men who called women
inferior because they had not invented or achieved
in science or art ? On whose authority had men
decided that science and art were greater than
anything else ? The world could not go on until
this question had been answered. Until then, until
it had been clearly explained that men were always
and always partly wrong in all their ideas, life would
be full of poison and secret bitterness. . . Men
fight about their philosophies and religions, there
is no certainty in them ; but their contempt for
women is flawless and unanimous. Even Emerson
. . . positive and negative, north and south, male
and female .... why negative P Maeterlinck gets
nearest in knowing that women can live, hardly
at all, with men, and wait, have always been wait-
ing, for men to come to life. How can men come
to life ; always fussing ? How could the man who
wrote this book ? Even if it were publicly burned
and he were made to apologise ; he would still go
about asquint .... lunch was going to be late,
ju^t to-day, of course. . . .
" I say:'
" What do you say," responded Miriam without
looking up from her soup. Mr. Leyton had a
topic ; she could keep it going with half her
attention and go restfuUy on, fortifying herself for
the afternoon. She would attack him about the
book one day next week
" I say. What say you George ? "
" Me ? All right. I say, I say, I say, anythino- you
Miriam looked up. Mr. Leyton was gazing and
" What's the matter ? " she snapped. His eyes
were on her toque.
" IVhere did you get that hat ? Where did you
get that tile," sang the cousin absently, busy with his
" I made it if you fnust know," said Miriam. The
cousin looked across ; large expressionless opinion-
" Going out in it ? " What was the matter :
Mr. Leyton had never noticed anything of hers
before ; either it was too awful, or really rather
effective and he unconsciously resented the fact of
her going about in an effect.
" Why not ? "
" Well ; looks rather like a musical comedy."
" Cheek ; observed the cousin ; I do call that cool
cheek ; you're balmy, Leyton." Mr. Leyton looked
no more ; that was his genuine brotherly opinion ;
he thought the toque showy. It was the two wings,
meeting in the middle of the front ; he meant
pantomime ; he did not know the wings were
cheap ; he was shocked by the effectiveness ; it
was effective ; cheap and hateful ; but it suited
her ; pantomime effects were becoming. Where
was the objection ?
" That's all right. I'm glad. I like musical
" Oh ; if you're satisfied. If you don't mind
" I say, look here old man, steady on," blushed
" Well. What do you think yourself ? Come
" I think it's jolly pretty."
"/ think it's jolly >j/."
Miriam was quite satisfied. The cousin's opinion
went for nothing ; a boy zuould like pantomime
effects. But the hat was neither ugly nor dowdy.
She would be able to tear down Oxford Street, no
matter how ugly the cold made her feel, looking
fast. It would help her to carry off meeting
Mr. Shatov. He would not notice hats. But the
extraordinary, rather touching thing was that
Mr. Leyton should trouble at all. As if she belonged
to his world and he were in some way responsible.
'• All right Mr. Leyton ; it's fast ; whatever
that may mean."
" Old Leyton thinks hats ought to be slow."
" Look here young fellow me lad, you teach
" Great-grandfather not to be rude."
" I fail to see the rudeness ; I've merely ex-
pressed an opinion and I believe Miss Henderson
agrees with it."
" Oh absolutely ; 3.h-solute-ly ; " chanted Miriam
scornfully. " Pray don't worry about the pace of
my millinery Mr. Leyton." That was quite good,
like a society novel. . . .
" Well as I say if you're satisfied.''^
" Ah. That's another matter. The next time
I want a hat I'll go to Bond Street. So easy and
" Seen the paper to-day, George ? "
" Paper ? Noospaper ? No time."
" Seen the B. M. J. ? "
" No sir."
" And you an aspiring medico."
" Should be an expiring medico," yodelled
George " if I read all those effusions."
" Well. More disclosures from Schenck."
" Who's he, when he's at home ? "
" You know. Schenck, man ; Scbetik. Ton
" Oh, sorry ; all right. What's he babbhng
about now ? "
" Same thing ; only more of it " giggled Mr.
" If it's half past I must go," announced Miriam
peremptorily. Two watches came out.
" Then I advise you to hook it pretty sharp ;
it's twenty to. You'd better read that article my
son." Miriam folded her serviette.
" Righto. Don't worry."
" Why all this mystery ? Good morning " said
" Good morning " said the two voices. Mr.
Leyton held the door open and raised his voice to
follow her up the stairs. " We're discussing
matters somewhat beyond your ken."
She could not stay. She could not have tackled
him if she had stayed. Anger was perhaps as funny
as embarrassment. He would have been shocked
at the idea of her quietly considering the results of
Schenck's theory, if it proved to be true ; beyond
her ken, indeed. It was hateful to have to leave
that ; he ought to be robbed of the one thing that
he imagined gave him an advantage in the presence
of women. The women in his world would be
embarrassed by the discussion of anything to do
with the reproduction of the race. Why ? Why
were the women embarrassed and the men always
suggestive and facetious ? If only the men could
realise what they admitted by their tone ; what
attitude towards life. . . .
It was a bitter east-wind ; the worst kind of day
there was. All along Oxford Street were women in
furs, serene, with smooth warm faces untroubled by
the bleak black wind, perhaps even enjoying the
cold. Miriam struggled along, towards the cruel
east, shivering, her face shrivelled and frozen and
burning, her brain congealed. If she were free she
could at least have a cup of coffee and get warm and
go into the Museum and be warm all the afternoon.
To meet a stranger and have to be active and
sociable when she was at her worst. He would be
wrapped in the advantage of a fur-lined coat, or at
least astrachan, and be able to think and speak. He
would wonder what was the matter ; even his
careless foreign friendhness would not survive her
frightful appearance. Yet when a clock told her
the appointed time was past, the torment of the
wind grew sharper in the thought that she might
miss him. There was the Holborn Library, as he
had described. There was no one there, the pave-
ment was empty ; he had given her up and gone ;
had perhaps never come. She was reHeved. She
had done her best. Fate had saved her ; her
afternoon was her own. But she must show her-
self, perhaps he might be sheltering just inside the
door. The doorway was empty. There was a man
leaning against the lamppost. She scanned him
unwillingh", lest he should turn into Mr. Shatov ;
but he produced only the details of the impression
she had taken before she glanced, a shabby, sinister-
looking Tottenham Court Road foreign loafer, in
yellow boots, an overcoat of an evil shade of brown
and a waiter's black-banded grey felt hat ; but she
had paused and glanced and of course his eye was
immediately upon her and his lounging figure
upright as she swept across the pavement to gain
the road and flee the displeasing contact. He
almost ran into her ; trotting .... ah, I am glad
.... it was Mr. Shatov
Looking like that, she was now to take him in
amongst the British Museum officials, and the
readers she knew by sight and who knew her ;
introduce him to the librarian. She scanned him
as he eagerly talked, looking in vain for the presence
she had sat with in the drawing-room ; the eyes had
come back ; but that was all, and she could not
forget how brooding, almost evil, they had looked
just now. They gleamed again with intelligence ;
but their brilliant beauty shone from a face that
looked almost dingy, in the hard light ; and
yellowish under the frightful hat peaked down,
cutting off his forehead. He was gloveless and in
his hands, grimed with walking in the winter
streets, he held a paper bag of grapes which he ate
as he talked, expelling the skins and flinging them
from him as he walked .... he looked just simply
disreputable. Even his voice had gone ; raised
against the traffic it was narrow and squeaky ; a
disreputable foreigner, plunging carelessly along,
piercing her ear with mean broken English. She
shouted vague replies in French ; in yelled French
his voice was even more squeaky ; but the foreign
tongue gave a refuge and a shape to their grouping ;
she became a sort of guide ; anyone could be that
to any sort of foreigner.
In the cloak room were the usual ladies comfort-
ably eating lunch from sandwich tins and talking,
talking, talking to the staff, moving endlessly to
and fro amongst the cages of hanging garments ;
answering unconsciously. The mysterious ever-
lasting work of the lunching ladies, giving them the
privilege of being all day at the museum, always in
the same seats, accepted and approved, seemed to
make no mark upon them ; they bore themselves
just as they would have done anywhere, the same
mysteriously unfailing flow of talk, the mysterious
basis of agreement with other women, the same
enthusiastic discussions of the weather, the cases in
the newspapers, their way of doing this and that,
their opinions of places and people they
seemed to have no sense of the place they were in,
and yet were so extraordinarily at home there, and
most wonderful of all, serene, with untroubled
eyes and hands in the thin stuffy heat of the cloak-
These thoughts came every time ; the sense of
Mr. Shatov, busy, she hoped, washing his face and
hands down beyond the stairs leading to the
unknown privacies at the other end of the corridor,
could not banish them ; the bearing of these ladies
was the most mysterious thing in the museum. In
this room she was always on her guard. It was
jolly after roaming slowly across the courtyard
towards the unfailing unchanging beauty of the
great grey pillars, pigeon-garlanded, to wander
through the out-branching hall to where the lame
commissionaire held open the magic door, and fly
along the passage and break in here, permitted, cold
and grimy and ruffled from the street, and emerge
washed and hatless and rested, to saunter down the
corridor and see ahead, before becoming one of
them, the dim various forms sitting in little circles
of soft yellow light under the high mysterious
dome. But In one unguarded moment in this room,
all these women would turn into acquaintances, and
the spell of the museum, springing forth perhaps
for a while, intensified, would disappear for ever.
They would turn it into themselves, varying and
always in the end, in silence, the same. In solitude
it remained unvarying yet never twice alike, casting
its large increasing charm upon them as they moved
distant and unknown.
In the lower cloak-room there was always escape ;
no sofas, no grouped forms. To-day it stood bare,
its long row of basins unoccupied. She turned taps
joyously ; icy cold and steaming hot water rushing
to cleanse her basin from its revealing relics. They
were all the same, and all the soaps, save one she
secured from a distant corner, sloppy. Surveying,
she felt with irritated repugnance, the quality,
slap-dash and unaware, of the interchange accom-
panying and matching the ablutions. A woman
came out of a lavatory and stood at her side, also
swiftly restoring a basin. It was she. . . . Miriam
envied the basin Freely watching the
peaceful face in the mirror, she washed with an
intense sense of sheltering companionship. Far in
behind the peaceful face serene thoughts moved,
not to and fro, but outward and forward from some
sure centre. Perfectly screened, unknowing and un-
known, she went about within the charmed world of
her inheritance. It was difficult to imagine what
work she might be doing, always here, and always
moving about as if unseeing and unseen. Round
about her serenity any kind of life could group,
leaving it, as the foggy grime and the dusty swelter
of London left her, unsullied and untouched. But
for the present she was here, as if she moved,
emerging from a spacious many-windowed sun-
light flooded house whose happy days were in her
quiet hands, in clear light about the spaces of a
wide garden. Yet she was aware of the world about
her. It was not a matter of life and death to her
that she should be free to wander here in solitude.
For those women she would have a quiet unarmed
confronting manner, at their service, but holding
them off without discourtesy, passing on with cup
unspilled. Nothing but music reached her ears,
everything she saw melted into a background of
She was out of sight, drying her hands, lighting
up the corner of the room where the towels hung.
... If Mr. Shatov were on her hands, she would
not be regretting that the afternoon could hold
no solitary wanderings. She made no calculations ;
for she could not be robbed. That was strength.
She was gone. Miriam finished her operations as
though she remained, drying her hands unhurriedly,
standing where she had stood, trying to survey the
unforetellable afternoon with something of her
He would probably be plunging up and down the
corridor with a growing impatience There
he was, unconcernedly waiting ; his singing deter-
mined child's head reared hatless above the dreadful
overcoat, the clear light of the corridor upon its
modest thought-moulded dignity . . . distinguished
.... that was what he was. She felt unworthy,
helplessly inadequate, coming up the corridor to
claim him. She was amongst the people passing
about him before he saw her ; and she caught again
the look of profound reproachful brooding melan-
choly seated in his eyes, so strangely contradicting
his whole happy look of a child standing at a
party, gazing, everything pouring into its wide eyes ;
dancing and singing within itself, unconscious of its
" Here we are," she said avertedly as he came
" Let us quickly to this official " he urged in his
" All right ; this way." He hurried along at her
side, beard forward, his yellow boots plunging in
long rapid strides beneath his voluminously floating
She resented the librarian's official manner ; the
appearance of the visitor, the little card he
promptly produced, should have been enough.
Stud. Schtudent, how much more expressive than
stewdent .... to be able to go about the world
for years, so-and-so, stud all doors open
and committed to nothing. She asserted herself by
making suggestions in French. Mr. Shatov
responded politely, also in French, and she felt the
absurdity of her eager interference, holding him a
prisoner, hiding his studious command of English,
in order to flourish forth her knowledge. " We
are not afraid even of Russian, if Mr. Shatov
prefers to use his own tongue," said the librarian.
Miriam flashed a suspicious glance. He was
smiling a self-conscious superior English smile. It
soured into embarrassment under her eye.
" It is no matter " said Mr. Shatov gently, " you
shall immediately say me the requisite formules
which I shall at once write." He stood beauti-
ful, the gentle unconsciously reproachful prey of
English people unable to resist their desire to be
effective. They stood conquered, competing in
silent appreciation, as he bent writing his way into
their forgotten library.
" Now I am pairfectly happy " he said as he
passed through the swing doors of the reading-
room. His head was up radiantly singing, he was
rushing trustfully forward, looking at nothing,
carrying her on, close at his side, till they reached
the barrier of the outmost catalogue desk. He
pulled up facing her, with wide wild eyes looking
at nothing. " We shall at once take Anakamyinna
in English " he shouted in an enthusiastic whisper.
" We must choose seats before we get books,"
murmured Miriam. There was plenty to do and
explain ; the revelation of her meagre attack on
the riches of the library need not yet come. Were
they to read together ? Had he reached his goal
" midst all those Hteratures " to spend his time in
showing her Tolstoy ? He followed her absently
about as she filled in the time while they waited for
their book, by showing all she knew of the routine
of the library. " There shall of course " he said in
a gruff explanatory tone, arresting her near the
entrance to the central enclosure, " be a quite
exhaustive system of catalogue, but I find there is
too m\xch. formalities ; with all these little baskets."
" Ssh," begged Miriam leading him away. She
drifted to the bookshelves, showing him the one
70 DEADLOCK '~^
shelf she knew on the south side ; there was a
reader on a ladder at the very shelf. " Carlyle's
French Revolution is up there " she said confidently.
" Na, na," he growled reproachfully, " this is a
most purely unreliable fictional history, a tour de
force from special individual prejudices. You
should take rather Thiers." She piloted him across
to her shelf on the north side to point out the
Revue de deux Mondes and the North American
Review. He paused, searching along the shelves.
^''Ah. Here is books." He drew out and flung open
a heavy beautifully printed volume with wide
margins on the pages ; she would show him the
clever little folding arrangements to hold heavy
volumes ; " You do not know these ? " he demanded
of her silence ; " ah that is a great pity ; it is the
complete discours de I'Academie fran^aise ; you
shall immediately read them ; ah, they are the
most ferject modcles." She glanced at the open page
beginning " Messieurs ! Le sentiment de ficrte
avcc laquclle je vous " ; it was a voice ; exactly
like the voice of Mr. Shatov. He stood with the
heavy open volume, insisting in his dreadfully
audible whisper on wonderful French names pre-
fixed to the titles of addresses, fascinating subjects,
one of them Mr. Gladstone I He looked French as he
spoke ; a brilliantly polished Frenchman. Why
had he not gone to France ? He was German too,
with a German education and yet with some
impatiently unexplained understanding and con-
tempt — for Germany. Why was he drawn towards
England ? That was the mysterious thing. What
was the secret of the reverence in this man towards
England and the English ? He was not an anarchist.
There he stood, Russian, come from all that far-
away beauty, with German and French culture in
his mind, longingly to England, coming to Tansley
Street ; unconsciously bringing her her share in his
longed-for arrival and its fulfilments. She watched
as he talked, marvelling at the undeserved wealth
offered to her in the little figure discoursing so
eagerly over the cumbrous volume, and at this
moment the strange Russian book was probably
waiting for them.
It was a big thick book. Miriam sat down
before it. The lights had come on. The book lay
in a pool of sharp yellow light ; Tolstoy, surrounded
by a waiting gloom ; the secret of Tolstoy standing
at her side, rapidly taking off his overcoat. He drew
up the chair from the next place and sat close,
flattening out the book at the first chapter and
beginning to read at once, bent low over the book.
She bent too, stretching her hands out beyond her
knees to make herself narrow, and fastening on
the title. Her anticipations fell dead. It was the
name of a woman Anna ; of all names.
Karenine. The story of a woman told by a man
with a man's ideas about people. But Anna
Karenine was not what Tolstoy had written.
Behind the ugly feebleness of the substituted word
was something quite difterent, strong and beautiful ;
a whole legend in itself. Why had the translator
altered the surname ? Anna Kar^yninna was a line
of Russian poetry. His word was nothing, neither
English nor French, and sounded like a face-
cream. She scanned sceptically up and down the
pages of English words, chilled by the fear of
detecting the trail of the translator.
Mr. Shatov read steadily, breathing his enthusiasm
in gusts, pausing as each fresh name appeared, to
pronounce it in Russian and to explain the three
names belonging to each character. They were all
expressive ; easy to remember because of their
expressiveness. The three-fold name, giving each
character three faces, each turned towards a different
part of his world, was fascinating Con-
versation began almost at once and kept breaking
out ; strange abrupt conversation different to
any she had read elsewhere. . . . What was it ?
She wanted to hold the pages and find out ; but
Mr. Shatov read on and on, steadily turning the
leaves. She skipped, fastening upon the patches
of dialogue on her side of the open page, reading
them backwards and forwards, glancing at the solid
intervening portions to snatch an idea of the back-
ground. What was the mysterious difference ?
Why did she feel she could hear the tone of the
voices and the pauses between the talk ; the curious
feeling of things moving and changing in the air
that is always there in all conversations ? Her
excitement grew, drawing her upright to stare her
question into the gloom beyond the lamp.
" Well ? " demanded Mr. Shatov.
" It's fascinating."
" What have I told you ? That is Tolstoy," he
said proudly ; " but this is a most vile translation.
All these nu and da. Why not simply well and yes ;
and boszhe moi is quite simply, my God. But this
preliminary part is not so interesting as later.
There is in this book the self-history of Tolstoy. He
is Layvin, and Kitty is the Countess Tolstoy.
That is all most wonderful. When we see her in the
early morning ; and the picture of this wedding.
There is only Tolstoy for those marvellous touches.
I shall show you."
" Why does he call it Anna Karaynina " asked
" Certainly. It is a most masterly study of a
certain type of woman."
The fascination of the book still flickered brightly ;
but far away, retreated into the lonely incom-
municable distance of her mind. It seemed always
to be useless and dangerous to talk about books.
They were always about something else If
she had not asked she would have read the book
without finding out it was a masterly study of Anna.
Why must a book be a masterly study of some
single thing ? Everybody wisely raving about
it ... . But if one never found out what a book
was a masterly study of, it meant being ignorant
of things everyone knew and agreed about ; a
kind of hopeless personal ignorance and unin-
telligence ; reading whole books through and
through, and only finding out what they were about
by accident, when people happened to talk about
them, and even then, reading them again, and
finding principally quite other things, which stayed,
after one had forgotten what people had explained.
" I see " she said intelligently. The readers on
either side were glancing angrily. Miriam guiltily
recalled her own anger with people who sat together
murmuring and hissing. But it felt so different
when you were one of the people. The next time
she felt angry in this way she would realise how
interested the talkers were, and try to forget them.
Still it was wrong. " We must not talk " she
breathed. He glanced about and returned to his
shuffling of pages.
" Heere it is " he exclaimed in a guttural whisper
far more distinct than his mutterings ; "I shall
show you this wonderful passage."
" Ssh, yes," murmured Miriam firmly, peering
at the indicated phrase. The large warm gloom
of the library, with its green-capped pools of happy
light, was stricken into desolation as she read. She
swung back to her world of English books and
glanced for comfort at the forms of Englishmen
seated in various attitudes of reading about the far
edges of her circle of vision. But the passage was
inexorably there ; poison dropping from the book
into the world ; foreign poison, but translated and
therefore read by at least some Englishmen. The
sense of being in arms against an onslaught already
achieved, filled her with despair. The enemy was
far away, inaccessibly gone forward spreading more
poison. She turned furiously on Mr. Shatov. She
could not disprove the lie ; but at least he should
not sit there near her, holding it unconcerned.
" I can't see anything wonderful. It isn't true,"
" Ah that is very English " beamed Mr. Shatov.
" It is. Any English person would know that
it is not true."
Mr. Shatov gurgled his laughter. " Ah that is
D;E A D L O C K 75
" It may be. That doesn't make any difference."
" It makes the difference that you are inex-
perienced," he growled gently. That was true.
She had no experience. She only knezu it was not
true. Perhaps it was true. Then Hfe grew bleak
again It was not true. But it was true for
men. Skimmed off the surface, which was all they
could see, and set up neatly in forcible quotable
words. The rest could not be shown in these
clever, neat phrases.
" But I find the air here is most-evil. Let us
rather go have tea."
Astonishment melted into her pride in leading
him down through the great hall and along the
beloved corridor of her solitary pacings, out into
gigantic granite smile of the Egyptian gallery,
to the always sudden door of the refreshment
" If I got locked into the Museum at night I
should stay in this gallery," she said unable to bear
companionship in her sanctuary without extorting
some recognition of its never-failing quality.
" It is certainly impressive, in a crude way,"
admitted Mr. Shatov.
" They are so absolutely peaceful " said Miriam
struggling on behalf of her friends with her fury
at this extraordinary judgment. It had not
before occurred to her that they were peaceful
and that was not enough. She gazed down the
vista to discover the nature of the spell they cast.
" You can see them in clear light in the desert "
she exclaimed in a moment. The charm grew as
she spoke. She looked forward to being alone with
them again in the Hght of this discovery. The
chill of Mr. Shatov's indifferent response to her
explanation was buried in her private acknowledg-
ment that it was he who had forced her to discover
something of the reason of her enchantment. He
forced her to think. She reflected that solitude
was too easy. It was necessary for certainties.
Nothing could be known except in solitude. But
the struggle to communicate certainties gave them
new life ; even if the explanation were only a small
piece of the truth " Excuse m.e I leave you
a moment " he said, turning off through the maze of
little figures near the door. The extraordinary new
thing was that she could think, untroubled, in his
company. She gratefully blessed his disappearing
" I'm going to have toast and jam " she announced
expansively when the waitress appeared.
" Bring me just a large pot of tea and some kind
of sweetmeat " said Mr. Shatov reproachfully.
" Pastries " murmured Miriam.
" What is 'pastries " he asked mournfully.
" Patisseries " beamed Miriam.
" Ah no " he explained patiently, " it is not that
at all ; I will have simply some small things in
" No pastries ; cake," said the waitress, watching
herself in the mirror.
" Ach bring me just tea^'' bellowed Mr. Shatov.
Several people looked round, but he did not
appear to notice them and sat hunched, his overcoat
coming up behind beyond his collar, his arms
thrust out over the table, ending in grubby clasped
hands. In a moment he was talking. Miriam sat
taking in the change in the feeling of the familiar
place under the influence of his unconcerned
presence. There were the usual strangers strayed in
from the galleries, little parties, sitting exposed at
the central tables near the door ; not quite at home,
their eyes still filled with the puzzled preoccupation
with which they had wandered and gazed, the
relief of their customary conversation held back
until they should have paid, out of their weary
bewilderment some tribute of suitable comment ;
looking about the room, watching in separate
uneasiness for material to carry them past the
insoluble problem. They were unchanged. But
the readers stood out anew ; the world they had
made for her was broken up. Those who came
in twos and sat at the more sequestered tables,
maddening her with endless conversations at cross
purposes from unconsidered assumptions, were
defeated. Their voices were covered by Mr.
Shatov's fluent monologue, and though her own
voice, sounding startlingly in the room, seemed at
once only an exclamatory unpractised reproduction
of these accustomed voices, changing already their
aspect and making her judgment of them rock
insecurely in her mind, it was threaded into his
unconcerned reality and would presently be real.
But the solitary readers, sitting in corners over
books, or perched, thoughtfully munching and
sipping, with their backs to the room, on the high
stools at the refreshment counter, and presently
getting down to escape untouched and free, through
the swing door, their unlifted eyes recovering
already, through its long glass panels, the living
dream of the hugely moving galleries, reproached her
for her lost state.
Mr. Shatov's dreaming face woke to prevent her
adding milk to his tea, and settled again, dwelling
with his far off theme. She began listening in
detail to screen her base interest in her extravagant
fare. " It is a remarkable fact " he was saying and
she looked up, astonished at the sudden indistinct-
ness of his voice. His eyes met hers severely, above
the rim of his cup, " but of almost universal
application," he proceeded thickly, and paused to
produce between his lips a saturated lump of
sugar. She stared, horrified. Very gravely, un-
attained by her disgust, he drew in his tea in neat
noiseless sips till the sugar disappeared ....
when he deftly extracted another lump from the
basin and went on with his story.
The series of lumps, passing one by one without
accident through their shocking task, softened in
some remarkable way the history of Tourgainyeff
and Madame Viardot. The protest that struggled
in her to rise and express itself was held in check by
his peculiar serenity. The frequent filling of his
cup and the selection of his long series of lumps
brought no break in his concentration. . . . Above
the propped elbows and the cup held always at the
level of his lips, his talking face was turned to hers.
Expressions moved untroubled through his eyes.
When they left the tea-room he plunged rapidly
along as if unaware of his surroundings. The
whole Museum was there, unexplored, and this
was his first visit. He assented indifferently to her
suggestion that they should just look at the Elgin
Marbles, and stood unmoved before the groups,
presently saying with some impatience that here,
too, the air was oppressive and he would like to go
into the freshness.
Out in the street he walked quickly along brumming
to himself. She felt they had been long acquainted ;
the afternoon had abolished embarrassments, but
he was a stranger. She had nothing to say to him ;
perhaps there would be no more communications.
She looked forward with uneasiness to the evening's
lesson. They were both tired ; it would be an
irretrievable failure to try to extend their afternoon's
achievement ; and she would have to pass the inter-
vening time alone with her growing incapability,
while he recovered his tone at the dinner-table.
The thought of him there, socially alive while she
froze in her room, was intolerable. She too would
go in to dinner . . . their present association was
too painful to part upon. She bent their steps
cheerfully in the direction of home. Excuse me,
he said suddenly, I will take here fruits, and he
disappeared into a greengrocer's shop emerging
presently munching from an open bag of
Supposing books had no names Villette
had meant nothing for years ; a magic name until
somebody said it was Brussels she was
impressed by St. Paul's dome in the morning
because it was St. Paul's. That spoilt the part
about the journey ; waking you up with a start
like the end of a dream. St. Paul's sticking out
through the text ; someone suddenly introduced
to you at a gathering, standing in front of you,
blocking out the general sense of things ; until you
began to dance, when it came back until you stopped,
when the person became a person again, with a
name, and special things had to be said. St. Paul's
could not be got into the general sense of the
journey ; it was a quotation from another world ;
a smaller world than Lucy Snowe and her journey.
Yet it would be wonderful to wake up at a little
inn in the city and suddenly see St. Paul's for the
first time. Perhaps it was one of those journey
moments of suddenly seeing something celebrated,
and missing the impression through fear of not
being impressed enough ; and trying to impress
your impression by telling of the thing by name
everybody had that difficulty. The
vague shimmer of gas-lit people round the table ail
felt things without being able to express them
she glowed towards the assembled
group ; towards everyone in the world. For a
moment she looked about in detail, wanting to
communicate her thought and share a moment of
general agreement. Everybody was talking, looking
spruce and neat and finished, in the transforming
gaslight. Each one something that would never
be expressed, all thinking they were expressing
things and not knowing the lonely look visible
behind the eyes they turned upon the world, of
their actual selves as they were when they were
alone. But they were all saying things they wanted
to say they did express themselves,
in relation to each other ; they grew in knowledge
of each other, in approval or disapproval, tested
each other and knew, behind their strange im-
movable positive conversations about things that
were all matters of opinion perpetually shifting,
in a marvellous way each others' characters. They
also knew after the first pleasant moment of meeting
eyes and sounding voices when one tried to talk
in their way, that one was playing them false. The
glow could live for awhile when one had not met
them for some time ; but before the end of the
meeting one was again condemned, living in heavy
silence, whilst one's mind whirled with the sense of
their clear visions and the tantalising inclination
to take, for life, the mould of one or other point of
How obliviously they all talked on. She thanked
them. With their talk flowing across the table,
giving the central golden glow of light a feeling of
permanence, her failures in life, strident about the
room, were visible and audible only to herself. If
she could remain silent, they would die down,
and the stream of her unworthy life would merge,
before he appeared, into a semblance of oneness
with these other lives She caught the
dark Russian eyes of Mr. Rodkin sitting opposite.
He smiled through his glasses, his dry, sweet,
large-eyed smile, his head turned listening to his
neighbour. She beamed her response, relieved, as
i£ they had had a long satisfactory conversation.
He would have understood ... in spite of his
commercial city-life. He accepted everybody. He
was the central kindliness of the room. No wonder
Mrs. Bailey was so fond of him and leant upon his
presence, in spite of his yawning hatred of Sundays.
He was ilhiminated ; she had his secret at last given
her by Mr. Shatov. Russian kindhness
Russians understand silence and are not afraid of
it ? Kindly silence comes out of their speech, and
lies behind it, leaving things the same whatever has
been said ? This would be truer of him than of
Mr. Shatov moy word. Shatov at
the station with his father. You never saw such a
thing. Talking to the old boy as if he was a porter ;
snapping his head off whenever he spoke
She pulled up sharply. If she thought of him, the
fact that she was only passing the time would become
visible what was that just now, opening ;
about silence ?
There is no need to go out into the world.
Everything is there without anything ; the world
is added. And always whatever happens there is
everything to return to. The pattern round her
plate was life, alive, everything what
was that idea I used to have ? Enough for one
person in the world would be enough for every-
body how did it go ? It was so clear,
while the voice corneted out spoiling the sunshine,
"oh yes we were very jolly; very jolly
party, talking all the time. Miss Hood's song
sounding out at intervals. Halcyon weather."
" Do you ever feel how much there is
everywhere ? " " Nachah's abundance ? " " No.
I don't mean that. I mean that nearly everything is
wasted. Not things, like soap ; but the meanings
of things. If there is enough for one person there
is enough for everybody." " You mean that one
happy man makes the whole universe glad ? " " He
does. But I don't mean that. I mean — every-
thing is wasted all the time, \\'hile people are
looking about and arranging for more things."
" You would like to simplify life ? You feel man
needs but little here below ? " " He doesn't need
anything. People go on from everything as if it
were nothing and never seem to know there is
anything." " But isn't it just the stimulus of his
needs that keeps him going ? " " Why need he keep
going ? that is just my point." " Je ne vols pas
la necessite, you would say with Voltaire ? " " The
necessity of living ? Then why didn't he hang
himself." " I suppose because he taught in song
what he learned in sorrow " How many
people knew that Maeterlinck had explained in
words what life was like inside ? Seek ye first the
Kingdom .... the test is if people want you at
their death-beds. None of these people would want
me at their death-beds. Yet they all ask deliberate
questions, shattering the universe. Maeterlinck
would call them innocent questions about the
weather and the crops, behind which they gently
greet each other Women always know
their questions are insincere, a treachery towards
their silent knowledge
He must read the chapter on silence and then the
piece about the old man by his lamp. That would
make everything clear where was he all
this time ? Dinner was nearly over. Perhaps he
was going out. She contemplated her blank evening.
His voice sounded in the hall. How inconvenient
for people with very long eyelashes to have to wear
glasses she thought, engrossing herself in a sudden
vision of her neighbour's profile. He was coming
through the hall from seeing somebody out of the
front door. If she could be talking to someone
she would feel less huge. She tried to catch Mr.
Rodkin's eye to ask him if he had read Tolstoy.
Mr. Shatov had come in, bowing his deep-voiced
greeting, and begun talking to Mr. Rodkin before he
was in his chair, as if they were in the middle of a
conversation. Mr. Rodkin answered at once without
looking at him, and they went on in abrupt sentences
one against the other, the sentences growing longer
as they talked.
Sissie did not hear the remark about the weather
because she too was attending to the rapid Russian
sentences. She was engrossed in them, her pale
blue eyes speculative and serene. Miriam watched
in swift glances. The brilliant colour that Mr.
Shatov had seemed to distribute when he sat down,
had shrunk to himself. He sat there warm and
rich, with easy movements and easily moving
thoughts, his mind far away, his features animated
under his raised carelessly singing eye-brows, by his
irascible comments on Mr. Rodkin's rapped-out
statements. The room grew cold, every object
stiff with lifeless memory, as they sat talking Mr.
Rodkin's business. Everyone sitting round the
table was clean-cut, eaten into by the raw edge of
the winter night, gathered for a moment in the
passing gas-lit warmth, to separate presently and
face an everlastingly renewed nothingness
The charm of the Russian words, the fascination of
grasping the gist of the theme broke in vain against
the prevaiHng chill. If the two should turn away
from each other and bend their glowing faces, their
strangely secure foreign independence towards the
general bleakness, its dreadful qualities would swell
to a more active torment, all meanings lost in empty
voices uttering words that no one would watch or
explain. There was a lull. Their conversation was
changing. Mr. Shatov had sat back in his chair
with a Russian word that hung in the air and spread
music. His brows had come down and he was
glancing thoughtfully about the table. She met
Mr. Rodkin's eyes and smiled and turned again to
Sissie with her remark about the weather. Sissie's
face came round surprised. She disagreed, making
a perfect comment on the change that left Miriam
marvelling at her steady ease of mind. She agreed
in an enthusiastic paraphrase, her mind busy on the
hidden source of her random emphasis. It could
rest, everything could rest for awhile, for a little
time to come, for some weeks perhaps But
he would bring all those books ; with special mean-
ings in them that every one seemed to understand
and agree about ; real at the beginning and then
going off into things and never coming back. Why
could she not understand them ? Finding things
without following the story was like being inter-
ested in a lesson without mastering what you were
supposed to master and not knowing anything
about it afterwards that you could pass on or
explain. Yet there was something, or why did
school which had left no knowledge and no
facts seem so alive ? Why did everything seem
alive in a way it was impossible to explain ? Perhaps
part of the wrong of being a lazy idiot was being
happy in a way no one else seemed to be happy.
If one was an idiot, people like Mr. Shatov would
not. . . . He looked straight across, a swift obser-
vant glance. She turned once more towards Sissie
making herself smilingly one with the conversation
that was going on between her and her further
neighbour and listened eagerly across the table ;
" Gracieuse " Mr. Shatov was saying at the end of a
sentence, dropping from objection to restatement.
Mr. Rodkin had asked him if he did not think her
pretty. That would be his word. He would have
no other word. Mr. Shatov had looked considering
the matter for the first time. " Gracieuse^ Surely
that was the very last thing she could be. But he
Grace was a quality, not an appearance. Strong-
minded and plain. That, she knew, was the secret
verdict of women ; or, doesn't know how to make
the best of herself. She pondered, seeking in vain
for any source of grace. Grace was delicacy, refine-
ment, little willowy cattish movements of the head,
the inner mind fixed always on the proprieties,
making all the improprieties visible,
streaming from the back-view of their unconscious
A gracieuse effect means always deliberate behav-
ing. Madame de Something. But people who keep
it up can never let thoughts take their course. They
must behave to their thoughts as they behave to
people. When they are by themselves they can
only go on mincing quietly, waiting for their next
public appearance. When they are not talking they
wait in an attitude, as if they were talking ; ready
to behave. Always on guard. Perhaps that was
what Mr. Wilson meant when he said it was the
business of women to be the custodians of manners.
Their " sense of good form, and their
critical and selective faculties." Then he had no
right to be contemptuous of them Donald
Braden . . . lying across the dinner table ... a
drink sodden hull, swearing that he would never
again go to a dinner-party where there were no
ladies " " Good talk and particularly
good stories are not expected of women, at dinner
tables. It's their business to steer the conversation
and head it off if it gets out of bounds." .... To
simper and watch, while the men were free to be
themselves, and then step in if they went beyond
bounds. In other words to head the men off if they
talked " improperly " ; thus showing their know-
ledge of improprieties . . . . " tactfully " ignor-
ing them and leading on to something else with a
gracious pose. Those were the moments when the
improprieties streamed from their hair
Somebody saying ssh, superior people talking
together, modern fricnds-in-council, a week end in
a beautiful house, subjects on the menu, are you high
church or low church, the gleam of a woman's body
through water. " Ssh." Why P
But her impression to himself was good. A
French impression ; that was the extraordinary
thing. Without any consideration that was the
impression she had made. Perhaps everyone had a
sort of style, and people who liked you could see it.
The style of one's family would show, to strangers
as an unknown strange outside effect. Everyone
had an effect. . . . She had an effect^ a stamp,
independent of anything she thought or felt. It
ought to give one confidence. Because there would
certainly be some people who would not dislike it.
But perhaps he had not observed her at all until
that moment and had been misled by her assump-
tion of animation.
If I tried to be gracious, I could never keep it up,
because I always forget that I am visible. She
called in her eyes, which must have been staring all
the time blankly about the table, so many impres-
sions had she gathered of the various groups,
animated now in their unconscious relief at the
approaching end of the long sitting. Here again
was one of those moments of being conscious of the
strange fact of her incurable illusion, and realising
its effects in the past and the effects it must always
have if she did not get away from it. Nearly
always she must appear both imbecile and rude,
staring, probably with her mouth half open, lost.
Well-brought-up children were trained out of it. No
one had dared to try and train her for long. They
had been frightened, or offended, by her scorn of
their brisk cheerful pose of polite interest in the
surface of eyerything that was said. It was not
worth doing. Polite society was not worth having.
Every time one tried for awhile, holding oneself in,
thinking of oneself sitting there as others were
sitting, consciousness came to an end. It meant
having opinions. Taking sides. It presently
narrowed life down to a restive discomfort
Jan went about the streets thinking she was
invisible ..." and then quite suddenly I saw
myself in a shop mirror. My dear. I got straight
into an omnibus and went home. I could not stand
the sight of my hips." But with people, in a room,
she never forgot she was there.
The sight of Mr. Shatov waiting for her under
the gas in the drawing-room gathered all her
thoughts together, struggling for simultaneous
expression. She came slowly across the room, with
eyes downcast to avoid the dimly-lit corner where
he stood, and sought rapidly amongst the competing
t'hreads of thought for some fragment that could be
shaped into speech before he should make the com-
munication she had seen waiting in his face. The
sympathetic form must listen and make some
understanding response. She felt herself stiffening
in angry refusal to face the banishment of her
tangled mass of thought by some calmly oblivious
statement, beginning nowhere and leading them on
into baseless discussion, impeded on her part by the
pain of unstated vanishing things. They began
speaking together and he halted before her formal
harsh- voiced words.
" There is always a bad light on Saturday evenings
because nearly every one goes out " she said and
looked her demand for his recognition of the
undischarged burden of her mind impatiently about
" I had not observed this " he said gently, " but
now I see the light is indeed very bad." She watched
him as he spoke, waiting, counting each syllable. He
paused, gravely consulting her face ; she made no
effort to withhold the wave of anger flowing out
over the words that stood mocking her on the
desolate air, a bridge, carrying them up over the
stream of her mind and forward, leaving her com-
munications behind for ever. She waited, watching
cynically for whatever he might offer to her dumb-
ness, wondering whether it surprised him, rebuked
as she regarded him, by his unchanged gentle
" Oh please " he said hurriedly, his downcast
inturned smile suddenly irradiating his forehead,
bringing down the eyebrows that must have gone
singing thoughtfully up as he spoke about the light
... a request of some kind ; one of his extra-
ordinary unashamed demands. ..." You must
help me. I must immediately pawn my watch.
Where is a pawning shop ? "
Miriam stared her consternation.
" Ah, no " he said, his features working with
embarrassment " it is not for myself. It is my
friend, the Polish Doctor, who was only now here,"
Miriam gazed, plunging on through relief into a
chaos of bewildered admiration.
" But you hardly know him " she exclaimed,
sitting down for more leisurely contemplation.
" That is not the point " he said seriously, taking
the chair on the other side of the little table. " Poor
fellow, he is not long in London, and has almost no
friends. He is working in abstruse researchings,
needing much spendings on materials, and is
threatened by his landlady to leave his apart-
" Did he tell you this ? " said Miriam sceptically
recalling the Polish head, its smooth cold perfect
beauty and indifference.
" Most certainly he told me. He must immedi-
ately have ten pounds."
" Perhaps you would not get so much," persisted
Miriam. "And suppose he does not pay it
" You are mistaken. The watch, with the chain,
is worth more than the double this sum." His face
expressed a grave simple finality.
" But it is a shame^'' she cried, jealously eyeing
the decoration that seemed now to have been an
essential part of their many meetings. Without
this mark of opulence, he would not be quite the
same. . .
" Why a shame ? " demanded Mr. Shatov, with
his little abrupt snorting chuckle. " I shall again
have my watch when my father shall send me the
next portion of my allowance." He was not count-
ing on the return of the money ! Next month,
with his allowance, he would have the watch and
forget the incident Wealth made life safe
for him. People could be people to him ; even
strangers ; not threats or problems. But even a
wealthy Englishman would not calmly give ten
pounds to a disreputable stranger ... he would
suspect him even if he were not disreputable. It
might he true that the Pole was in honest difficulties.
But it was impossible to imagine him really working
at anything. Mr. Shatov did not feel this at
" I'm afraid I don't know any pawn shops " she
said, shrinking even from the pronunciation of the
word. She scanned her London. They had
ahvays been there . . . but she had never noticed
or thought of them ..." I don't remember ever
having seen one ; but I know you are supposed to
recognise them," here was strange useful know-
ledge, something picturesque floating in from
somewhere ..." by three gold balls hanging
outside ... I have seen one " they were talking
now, the Polish Doctor was fading away. " Yes . . .
on a bus " his wide child's eyes were set impersonally
on what she saw, " somewhere down by Ludgate
" I will at once go there " he said sitting leisurely
back with dreaming eyes and his hands thrust into
" Oh no " she cried, thrusting off the disaster,
" it would be closed.''^
" That is bad " he reflected, " Ach, no matter.
I will write to him that I come on Monday."
" He would not get your letter until Monday."
" That is true. I did not think of this."
There must be pawn shops quite near ; in the
Tottenham Court Road. They would still be open.
Not to suggest this would be to be responsible if
anything happened to the Pole. . . Thrusting
down through the numbed mass of her forgotten
thoughts to the quick of her nature came the
realisation that she was being tested and found
wanting . . . another of those moments had come
round She glanced into the open abyss at
her own form staring up from its depths, and
through her brain flew, in clear record, decisive
moments of the past ; her self, clearly visible,
clothed as she had been clothed, her poise and
bearing as she had flinched and fled. Here she was,
unchanged, not caring what happened to the man,
so long as her evening was not disturbed . . . she
was a murderess. This was the hidden truth of her
life. Above it her false face turned from thing to
thing, happy and forgetful for years, until a moment
came again to show her that she could face and let
slip the risk of anything to anyone, anywhere, rather
than the pain of renouncing personal realisation.
Already she was moving away. A second sugges-
tion was in her mind and she was not going to make
it. She glanced enviously at the unconscious kind-
liness lolling in the opposite chair. It was clear to
its depths ; unburdened by spectres of remembered
cruelty But there was also something
else that was different .... easy circumstances ;
the certainty, from the beginning, of self-realisa-
" Perhaps someone in the house could tell you."
Oh stupidity ; blurting out anything to hide behind
the sound of voices.
" Possibly. But it is a delicate matter. I could
not for instance mention this matter to Mrs.
" Do you like him ? Didn't you find him
amongst those dreadful men looking like monkeys ? "
" At this Vienna cafe. Ah indeed it is dreadful
" He is very handsome."
" The Poles are perhaps the most beautiful of
European peoples. They have also immense
courage "... unsuspicious thoughtfully talking
face, lifting her up and out again into light and
air " But the Pole is undoubtedly the most
treacherous fellow in Europe." Grave live eyes
flashed across at her, easily, moulding the lounging
form into shapeliness. " He is at the same time of
the most distinguished mentality." Why should
anyone help a distinguished mentality to go on
being treacherous ? " And in particular is this
true of the Polish Jew. There are in all European
universities amongst the very most distinguished
professors and students very many Polish Jews."
Le Juif Polonais . . . The Bells. It was strange to
think of Polish Jews going on in modern everyday
life But if Poles were so evil . . . That
was Dr. Veslovsky's expression. Cold evil.
" There was an awful thing last week in Woburn
" Yes ? "
" Mrs. Bailey told me about it. There was a
girl who owed her landlady twenty- five shillings.
She threw herself out of her bedroom window on
the top floor because her landlady spoke to her
" That is terrible " whispered Mr. Shatov. His
eyes were dark with pain ; his face shrunk as if with
cold. " That could never happen in Russia " he
" Why not ? "
" No. In Russia such a thing is impossible. And
in student circles most particularly. This young
girl living in this neighbourhood without salary' was
probably some sort of student."
" Why ? She might have been a governess out of
work or a poor clerk. Besides I thought people were
always committing suicide in Russia."
" That is of course a gross exaggeration. There
are certainly suicides in Russia as everywhere. But
in Russia suicide, which does certainly occur in
abnormally high frequency amongst the young
intelligentsia, arises from trouble of spirit. They
are psychopath. There comes some spiritual crisis
and — phwtt — ... It is characteristic of the
educated Slav mind to lose itself in face of abstrac-
tive insolubilities. But for need of twenty-five
shillings. I find in this something peculiarly
horrible. In midst of your English civilisation it
" There has not been any civilisation in the world
yet. We are still all living in caves." The quota-
tion sounded less convincing than at Wimpole
" That is too superficial. Pardon me, but it
implies a too slight knowledge of what has been in
the past and what still persists in various develop-
mental stages." Miriam felt about among the
statements which occurred to her in rapid succes-
sion, all contradicting each other. Yet somebody
in the world believed each one of them
Mr. Shatov was gravely waiting, as if for her agree-
ment with what he had just said. Far away below
her clashing thoughts was something she wanted to
express, something he did not know, and that yet
she felt he might be able to shape for her if only
she could present it. But between her and this
reality was the embarrassment of a mind that could
produce nothing but quotations. She had no mind
of her own. It seemed to be there when she was
alone ; only because there was no need to express
anything. In speech she could produce only things
other people had said and with which she did not
agree. None of them expressed the underlying
thing Why had she not brought down
Mr. Shatov's quiet waiting had ended in a flow
of eager talk. She turned unwillingly. Even he
could go on, leaving things unfinished, talking
about something else But his mind was
steady. The things that were there would not drop
away. She would be able to consider them . . .
watching the effect of the light of other minds upon
the things that floated in her own mind ; so dread-
fully few now that he was beginning to look at
them ; and all ending with the images of people
who had said^them, or the bindings of books where
she had found them set down yet she
felt familiar with all points of view. Every
generalisation gave her the clue to the speaker's
mind .... wanting to hear no more, only to
criticize what was said by pointing out, whether
she agreed with it or no, the opposite point of
She smiled encouragingly towards his talk,
hurriedly summoning an appearance of attention
into her absent eyes while she contemplated his
glowing pallor and the gaze of unconscious wide
intelligence, shining not only towards her own, but
also with such undisturbed intentncss upon what he
was describing. She could think later on, next
year, when he had gone away leaving her to
confront her world with a fresh armoury. As long
as he stayed, he would be there, without effort or
encouragement from her, filling her spare hours
with his untired beauty, drawing her along his
carefully spun English phrases, away from personal
experiences, into a world going on independently
of them ; unaware of the many scattered interests
waiting for her beyond this shabby room, and yet
making them shine as he talked, newly alight with
rich superfluous impersonal fascination, no longer
isolated, but vivid parts of a whole, growing more
and more intelligible as he carried her further and
further into a life he saw so distinctly, that he made
it hers, too quickly for her to keep account of the
She beamed in spacious self-congratulation and
plunged into the midst of his theme in holiday mood.
She was in a theatre, without walls, her known
world and all her memories spread, fanwise about
her, all intent on what she saw, changing, retreating
to their original form, coming forward, changing
again, obliterated, and in some deep difficult way
challenged to renewal. The scenes she watched
opened out one behind the other in clear per-
spective, the earlier ones remaining visible, drawn
aside into bright light as further backgrounds
opened. The momentary sound of her own voice
in the room encouraging his narrative, made no
break ; she dropped her remarks at random into
his parentheses, carefully screening the bright
centres as they turned one by one into living
Suddenly she was back withering in the cold
shabby room before the shock of his breaking off to
suggest with a swift personal smile that she herself
should go to Russia. For a moment she stared at
him. He waited, smiling gently. It did not matter
that he thought her worthy The con-
viction that she had already been to Russia, that his
suggestion was foolish in its recommendation of a
vast superfluous undertaking, hung like a veil
between her and the experiences she now passed
through in imagining herself there. The very
things in the Russian student circles that had most
appealed to her, would test and find her out. She
would be one of those who would be mistrusted for
not being sufficiently careless about her dress and
hair. It would not suit her to catch up her hair
with one hairpin. She would not be strong enough
to study all day and half the night on bread and tea.
She was sure she could not associate perpetually with
men students, even living and sharing rooms with
them, without the smallest flirtation. If she were
wealthy like he, she would not so calmly accept
having all things in common ; poor she would be
uneasy in dependence on other students. She sat
judged. There was a quality behind all the scenes,
something in the Russians that she did not possess.
Ir was the thing that made him what he was
It answered to a call that was being made all the
time to everyone, everywhere. Yet why did so
many of them drink P
" Well ? " said Mr. Shatov. The light was going
down. ^^ What is this?" he asked staring up im-
patiently at the lessening flame. " Ah it is simply
stufid.^'' He hurried away and Miriam heard his
voice shouting down to Mrs. Bailey from the
staircase as he went, and presently in polite loud-
toned remonstrance from the top of the basement
stairs. The gas went up, higher than it had been
before. It must be eleven. It was not fair to keep
the gas going for two people. She must wind up
the sitting and send him away.
" What a piece of EngHsh stupidity," he bellowed
gently, coming back across the room.
" I suppose she is obliged to do it " said Miriam
feeling incriminated by her failure to resent the
proceeding in the past.
" How obliged P "
" She has had an awful time. She was left
penniless in Weymouth."
" That is bad ; but it is no cause for stupidity.''^
" I know. She doesn't understand. She managed
quite well with lodgers ; she will never make
boarders pay. It's no use giving her hints. The
house is full of people who don't pay their bills.
There are people here who have paid nothing for
eighteen months. She has even lent them money."
" Is it possible ? " he said gravely.
" And the Irish journalist caTCt pay. He is a
" He is a most distinguished-looking man. Ah
but she is stupid.''''
" She can't see " said Miriam — he was interested ;
even in these things. She dropped eagerly down
amongst them. The whole evening and all their
earlier interchange stood far off, shedding a relieving
light over the dismal details and waiting to be
resumed, enriched by this sudden excursion — " that
when better people come she ought to aher things.
It isn't that she would think it wrong, like the doctor
who felt guilty when he bought a carriage to make
people believe he had patients, though of course
speculation is wrong " — she felt herself moving
swiftly along, her best memories with her in the
cheerful ring of her voice, their quality discernible
by him, a kind of reply to all he had told her —
*'' because she believes in keeping up appearances ;
but she doesn't know how to make people comfort-
able." She was creating a wrong impression but
with the right voice. Without Miss Scott's sugges-
tions, the discomforts would never have occurred
" Ah she is stupid. That is the whole thing."
He sat forward stretching and contracting his
hands till the muscles cracked ; his eyes, flashing
their unconcerned contemptuous judgment, were
all at once the brilliant misty eyes of a child about
to be quenched by sudden sleep.
" TVo," she said resentfully, " she wants good
people, and when they come she has to make all she
can out of them. If they stayed she would be able
to afford to do things better. Of course they
don't come back or recommend her ; and the house
is always half empty. Her best plan would be to
fill it with students at a fixed low figure." Aliss
Scott again his attention was wander-
ing. . . " The dead Jlozvers,^^ he was back again,
" in dirty water in a cracked vase ; Sissic rushing out,
while breakfast is kept waiting, to buy just enough
butter for one meal.
*' Really ? " he giggled.
" She has been most awfully good to me."
" Why not ? " he chuckled.
" Do you think you will go and see your Polish
friend to-morrow ? " She watched anxiously.
" Yes " he conceded blinking sleepily at the end
of a long yawn. " I shall perhaps go."
" He might be driven to desperation " she
muttered. Her accomplished evening was trem-
bling in the balance. Its hours had frittered away
the horrible stranger's chance.
" Ah no " said Mr. Shatov with a little laugh of
sincere amusement, " Veslovski will not do foolish
things." She rose to her feet on the tide of her
relief, meeting, as she garnered all the hours of her
long day and turned with an out-spreading sheaf
of questions towards the expanses of evening leisure
so safely at her disposal in the oncrowding to-
morrows, the rebuke of the brilliantly burning
" But tell me ; how has Mrs. Bailey been so
good ? " He sat conversationally forward as if it
were the beginning of the evening.
" Oh well." She sought about distastefully
amongst the phrases she had collected in descriptions
given to her friends, conveying nothing. Mr.
Shatov knowing the framework, would see the detail
alive and enhance her own sense of it. She glanced
over the picture. Any single selection would be
misleading. There was enough material for days
of conversation. He was waiting eagerly, not
impatient after all of personal experiences. Yet
nothing could be told
" You see she lets me be amphibious." Her voice
smote her. Mrs. Bailey's kindliness was in the room.
She was squandering Mrs. Bailey's gas in an effort
that was swiftly transforming itself under the
influence of her desire to present an adequate
picture of her own separate life. His quickening
interest drove her on. She turned her eyes from
the gas and stared at the carpet, her picture broken
up and vanishing before the pathos of its thread-
bare faded patterns.
" I'm neither a lodger nor a boarder," she recited
hurriedly. " I have all the advantages of a boarder ;
the use of the whole house. I've had this room and
the piano to myself for years, on Sunday mornings
until dinner time, and when there are interesting
people I can go down to dinner. I do for weeks
on end sometimes, and it is so convenient to be able
to have meals on Sundays."
" It is really a most admirable arrangement,"
he said heartily.
" And last year I had a bicycle accident. I was
brought back here with a very showy arm ; in a
cab. Poor Mrs. Bailey fainted. It was not at all
serious. But they gave me their best room, the
one behind this, for weeks and waited upon me
most beautifully, and mind you they did not expect
any compensation, they knew I could not afford it."
" An injury that should disable for so many
weeks shall not have been a light one."
" That was the doctor. You see it was Saturday.
It was more than an hour before they could find
anyone at all, and then they found a small surgeon
in Gower Street. He stitched up my arm with
a rusty darning needle taken from Mrs. Bailey's
work-basket just as it was. I told him I had some
carbolic in my room ; but he said Nevorr mind
that. I'm not one of yn faddists, and bound it all
up and I came down to dinner. I had just come
back from the first week of my holiday ; bicycling
in Buckinghamshire, perfect, I never felt so well
in my life. I was going to Paris the next day."
" That was indeed most unfortunate."
" Well I don't know. I was going with a woman
I did not really know. I meant to go, and she had
been thinking of going and knew Paris and where to
stay cheaply and suggested we should join forces.
A sort of marriage of convenience. I was not
really disappointed. I was relieved ; though awfully
sorry to fail her. But everyone was so kind I was
simply astonished. I spent the evening on the
sofa in the dining-room ; and they all sat quietly
about near me. One man, a Swede, who had only
just arrived, sat on the end of the sofa and told
Swedish folk stories in a quiet motherly voice, and
turned out afterwards to be the noisiest, jolliest,
most screamingly funny man we have ever had here.
About eleven o'clock I felt faint and we discovered
that my arm must have broken out again some time
before. Two of the men rushed off to find a doctor
and brought an extraordinary little old retired
surgeon with white hair and trembling hands. He
wheezed and puffed and bound me up afresh and
went away refusing a fee. I wanted some milk,
and the Swede went out at midnight and found some
somewhere .1 come back with at least
one cow or I come not at all Of course a
week later I had stitch abscesses."
" But this man was a criminal.''''
" Yes wasn't it abominable. Poor man. The
two doctors who saw my arm later said that many
limbs have been lost for less. He counted on my
being in such good health. He told Mrs. Bailey
I was in splendid health. But he sent in a big
" I sincerely trust you did not pay this."
" I sent him a description of his operation, told
him the result and said that my friends considered
that I ought to prosecute him."
" Certainly it was your duty."
" I don't know. I hate cornering people. It
would not have made him different and I am no
better than he is."
" That is a most extraordinary point of view."
" I was sorry afterwards that I had written like
" Why ? "
" Because he threw himself into Dublin Harbour
a year later. He must have been in fearful difficul-
" No excuse for criminal neglect."
" The most wonderful thing in the accident
itself," pursued Miriam firmly, grasping her mid-
night freedom and gazing into the pattern her
determination that for another few minutes no
one should come up to interrupt, " was being so
near to death." She glanced up to gauge the
effect of her improvisation. The moment she was
now intent upon had not been ' wonderful.' She
would not be able to substantiate it ; she had
never thought it through. It lay ahead now for
exploration if he wished, ready to reveal its quality
to her for the first time he was sitting
hunched against the wall with his hands driven into
his pockets, waiting without resistance, with an
intentness equal to her own . . . she returned
gratefully to her carpet. " It was a skid " she said
feeling the oily slither of her front tyre. " I fell
with my elbow and head between the horses' heels
and the wheel of a dray. The back-thrown hoof
of the near horse caught the inner side of my arm,
and for a long long time I saw the grey steel rim of
the huge wheel approaching my head. It was
'strained back with all my force, my elbow pressing
the ground, but I thought it could not miss me.
There was a moment of absolute calm ; indifference
almost. It came after a feeling of hatred and yet
pity for the wheel. It was so awful, wet glittering
grey, and relentless ; and stupid, it could not help
" This was indeed a most remarkable psycho-
logical experience. It happens rarely to be so near
death with full consciousness. But this absence of
fear must be in you a personal idiosyncracy."
" But I was afraid. The. thing is that you don't
go on feeling afraid. Do you see ? "
" I hear what you say. But while there is the
chance of life the instinct of self-preservation is so
" But that is the surprise ; the tumult in your
body, something surging up and doing things
" Instinctive nervous reaction."
" But there is something else. In the moment
you are sure you are going to be killed, death
changes. You wait, for the moment after."
" That is an illusion, the strength of life in you
that cannot, midst good health, accept death.
But tell me ; your arm was certainly broken ? "
His gently breathed question took away the sting
of his statement.
" No. The wheel went over it just above the
bend of the elbow. I did not feel it, and got up
feeling only a little dizzy just for a moment and
horribly annoyed at the crowd round me. But
the two men who were riding with me told me
afterwards that my face was grey and my eyes
" That was shock." He rose and stood facing
her, in shadow ; dark and frock-coated, like a
^' Yes ; but I mean it shows that things look worse
than they are."
" That is most certainly a deduction that might
be drawn. Nevertheless you suffered a most
She moved towards the gas looking decisively up
at it ; and felt herself standing unexpressed, under
the wide arch of all they had said. He must be
told to remember to put out the gas before he went.
That said, there was nothing in the world but a
THREE months ago the Christmas had been
a goal for which she could hardly wait. It
had offered her, this time, more than its usual safe
deep firelit seclusion beyond which no future was
visible. It was to pay her in full for having missed
the beginning of Eve's venture, taking her down
into the midst of it when everything was in order
and the beginnings still near enough to be remem-
bered. But having remained during the engrossing
months, forgotten, at the same far-distant point,
Christmas now suddenly reared itself up a few days
off, offering nothing but the shadow of an un-
avoidable interruption. For the first time she
could see life going on beyond it. She would go
down into its irrelevance, taking part in everything
with absent-minded animation, looking towards
her return to town. It would not be Christmas,
and the long days of forced absence threatened the
features of the year that rose, far away and uncertain,
beyond the obstruction.
But the afternoon she came home with four
days holiday in her hand, past and future were
swept from her path. To-morrow's journey was
a far-off appointment, her London friends remote
shadows, banished from the endless continuance
of life. She wandered about between Wimpole
Street and St. Pancras, holding in imagination
wordless converse with a stranger whose whole
experience had melted and vanished like her own,
into the flow of light down the streets ; into the
unending joy of the way the angles of buildings cut
themselves out against the sky, glorious if she
paused to survey them ; and almost unendurably
wonderful, keeping her hurrying on pressing, through
insufficient silent outcries, towards something, any-
thing, even instant death, if only they could be
expressed when they moved with her movement, a
maze of shapes, flowing, tilting into each other,
in endless patterns, sharp against the light ; sharing
her joy in the changing same same song of the
London traflic ; the bliss of post-offlces and
railway stations, cabs going on and on towards
unknown space ; omnibuses rumbling securely
from point to point, always within the magic
circle of London.
Her meal was a crowded dinner-party, all the
people in the restaurant its guests, plunging with
her, released from experience, unhauntcd by hope
or regret, into the endless beginning. Into the
wrapped contemplation of the gathering, the
thought of her visit flashed like a star, dropping
towards her, and when she was gathering things
together for her packing, her eagerness flamed up
and lit her room.
The many Christmasses with the
Brooms had been part of her long run of escape
from the pain-shadowed family life ; their house
at first a dream-house in the unbroken dream of
her own life in London, a shelter where agony was
unknown, and lately a forgetfulness, for the long
days of the holiday, of the challenge that lived in the
walls of her room. For so long the walls had
ceased to be the thrilled companions of her freedom,
they had seen her endless evening hours of waiting
for the next day to entangle her in its odious
revolution. They had watched her in bleak daylight
listening to life going on obliviously all round her,
and scornfully sped her desperate excursions into
other lives, greeting her empty glad return with the
reminder that relief would fade, leaving her alone
-again with their unanswered challenge. They knew
the recurring picture of a form, drifting, grey face
upwards, under a featureless grey sky, in shallows,
" unreached by the human tide " and had seen its
realisation in her vain prayer that life should not
pass her by ; mocking the echoes of her cry, and
waiting indifferent, serene with the years they knew
before she came, for those that would follow her
meaningless impermanence. When she lost the
sense of herself in moments of gladness, or in the
long intervals of thought that encircled her inter-
mittent reading, they were all round her, waiting,
ready to remind her, undeceived by her daily busy
passing in and out, relentlessly counting its secret
During the last three months they had not
troubled her. They had become transparent, while
the influence of her summer still had them at bay,
to the glow shed up from the hours she had spent
downstairs with Mrs. Bailey, and before there was
time for them to close round her once more, the
figure of Michael Shatov, with Europe stretching
wide behind him, had forced them into companion-
ship with all the walls in the world. She had been
conscious that they waited for his departure ;
but it was far away out of sight, and when she
should be once more alone with them, their attack
would find her surrounded ; lives lived alone within
the vanquished walls of single poor bare rooms
in every town in Europe would come visibly to her
aid, driving her own walls back into dependence.
But to-night they were radiant. On no walls
in the world could there be a brighter light. Stream-
ing from their gaslit spaces, wherever she turned,
was the wide brilliance that had been on every-
thing in the days standing behind the shadow that
had driven her into their enclosure. Eve and
Harriett, waiting for her together, in a new sunlit
life, were the full answer to their challenge. She
was going home. The walls were traveller's walls.
That had been their first fascination ; but they
had known her only as a traveller ; now as she
dipped into the unbroken life that would flow round
her with the sound of her sisters' blended voices,
they knew whence she came and what had been
left behind. They saw her years of travel contract
to a few easily afforded moments, lit though she
had not known it, by light instreaming from the
past and flowing now visibly ahead across the
The distant forgotten forms of the friends of her
London life, turning away slighted, filled her,
watching them, with a half-repenting solicitude.
But they had their mysterious secret life, incom-
prehensible, but their own ; they turned away
towards each other and their own affairs, all of
them set, at varying angles, inquestioningly towards
a prospect she did not wish to share.
She went eagerly to sleep and woke in a few
moments in a morning whose sounds coming through
the open window, called to her as she leapt
out towards them, for responsive demonstrations.
Her desire to shout, thrilled to her feet, winged
Sitting decorously at the breakfast-table, she felt
in equal relationship to all the bright assembly,
holding off Mr. Shatov's efforts to engage her in
direct conversation, that she might hear, thoughtless
and uncomprehending, the general sound of inter-
woven bright inflections echoing quietly out into
the vast morning. She ran out into it, sending off
her needless telegram for the joy of skimming over
the well-known flags with endless time to spare.
The echoing London sky poured down upon them
the light of all the world. Within it her share
gleamed dancing, given to her by the London
years, the London life, shining now, far away, in
multitudinous detail, the contemplated enviable
life of a stranger.
The third-class carriage was stuffy and cold,
crowded with excited travellers whose separate eyes
strove in vain to reach the heart of the occasion
through a ceaseless exclamatory interchange about
what lay just behind them and ahead at the end of
the journey At some time, for some moments
during the ensuing days, each one of them would
be alone Consulting the many pairs of
eyes, so different yet so strangely alike in their
method of contemplation, so hindered and dis-
tracted, she felt, with a stifling pang of conviction,
that their days would pass and bring no solitude,
no single touch of realisation, and leave them going
on, with eyes still quenched and glazed, striving
outwards, now here now there, to reach some
Immersing herself in her corner she saw nothing
more until Eve's face appeared in the crowd wait-
ing upon the seaside platform. Eve beamed
welcome and eager wordless communications and
turned at once to lead the way through the throng.
They hurried, separated by Miriam's hand-luggage,
silenced by the din of the traffic rattling over the
cobblestones, meeting and parting amongst the
thronging pedestrians, down the steep slope of the
narrow street until Eve turned, with a piloting
backward glance, and led the way along the cobbled
pavement of a side-street, still narrower and sloping
even more steeply downhill. It was deserted, and
as they went single-file along the narrow pavement,
Miriam caught in the distance, the unwonted sound
of the winter sea. She had not thought of the sea
as part of her visit, and lost herself in the faint
familiar roll and flump of the south-coast tide. It
was enough. The holiday came and passed in the
imagined sight of the waves tumbling in over the
grey beach, and the breaking of the brilliant
seaside light upon the varying house-fronts behind
the promenade ; she returned restored ; the prize
of far-off London renewed already, keenly, within
her hands, to find Eve standing still just ahead,
turned towards her ; smiling too breathlessly for
speech. They were in front of a tiny shop-front,
slanting with the steep slant of the little road. The
window was full of things set close to the panes on
narrow shelves. Miriam stood back, pouring out
her appreciation. It was perfect ; just as she had
imagined it ; exactly the little shop she had dreamed
of keeping when she was a child. She felt a pang
" Mine " said Eve blissfully " my own." Eve
had property ; fragile delicate Eve^ the problem of
the family. This was her triumph. Miriam
hurried, lest her thoughts should become visible, to
-glance up and down the street and exclaim the
perfection of the situation.
" I know " said Eve with dreamy tenderness,
" and it's all my own ; the shop and the house ; all
mine." Miriam's eyes rose fearfully. Above the
shop, a narrow strip of bright white plaster house
shot up, two storeys high ; charming, in the way it
was complete, a house, and yet the whole of it, with
a strip of sky above, and the small neat pavement
below, in your eye at once, and beside it right and
left, the irregular heights and widths of the small
houses, close-built and flush with the edge of the
little pavement, up and down the hill. But the
thought of the number of rooms inside the little
building brought, together with her longing to see
them, a sense of the burden of possessions, and her
envy disappeared. While she cried you've got a
house^ she wondered, scanning Eve's radiant slender
form, whence she drew with all her apparent
helplessness, the strength to face such formidable
" I've let the two rooms over the shop. I live at
the top." As she exclaimed on the implied wealth,
Miriam found her envy wandering back in the
thought o£ the two rooms under the sky, well away
from the shop in another world, the rest of the
house securely cared for by other people. She
moved to the window. " All the right things " she
murmured, from her shocked survey of the rows of
light green bottles filled with sweets, the boxes of
soap, cigarettes, clay pipes, bootlaces, jewellery
pinned to cards, crackers and tightly packed pink
and white muslin Christmas stockings. Between
the shelves she saw the crowded interior of the
little shop, a strip of counter, a man with rolled up
shirt sleeves, busily twisting a small screw of paper.
. . . Gerald.
" Come inside " said Eve from the door.
"Hullo, Mirry, what d'you think of the em-
porium ? " Gerald, his old easy manner, his
smooth polished gentle voice, his neat, iron hand-
shake across the mean little counter, gave Eve's
enterprise the approval of all the world. " I've
done up enough screws of tea to last you the whole
blessed evening " he went on from the midst of
Miriam's exclamations " and at least twenty people
have been in since you left." A little door flew open
in the wall just behind him and Harriett, in an
overall, stood at the top of a short flight of stairs,
leaping up and down in the doorway. Miriam ran
round behind the counter, freely. Eve's shop, their
shop, behind her. " Hulloh old silly " beamed
Harriet kissing and shaking her " I just rushed
down, can't stay a minute, I'm in the middle of
nine dinners, they're all leaving to-morrow and
you're to come and sleep with wj." She fled down
the steps, out through the shop and away up the
hill, with a rousing attack on Gerald as she passed
him leaning with Eve over the till. Miriam was
welcomed. The fact of her visit was more to
Harriett than her lodgers. She collected her
belongings and carried them up the steps past a
small dark flight of stairs into a dark little room.
A small fire was burning in a tiny kitchen range ;
a candle guttered on the mantelpiece in the draught
from the shop ; there was no window and the air of
'the room was close with the combined odours of the
things crowded into the small space. She went
back into the bright familiar shop. Gerald was
leaving ; see you to-morrow he called from the
door with his smile.
" Now ; I'll fight the lamp and we'll be cosy "
said Eve leading the way back into the little room.
Miriam waited impatiently for the lamp to make a
live centre in the crowded gloom. The little black
kitchen fire was intolerable as president of Eve's
leisure. But the dim lamp, standing low on a little
table, made the room gloomier and Eve was back in
the shop with a customer. Only the dingy little
table, a battered tray bearing the remains of a
hasty, shabby tea, the fall below it of a faded ugly
fringed tablecloth and a patch of threadbare
carpet, were clearly visible She could not
remove her attention from them.
Lying sleepless by Eve's side late that night, she
watched the pictures that crowded the darkness.
Her first moments in the little back room were far
away. The small dark bedroom was full of the last
picture of Eve, in her nightgown, quietly relentless
after explaining that she always kept the window
shut because plenty of air came in, taking a heavy
string of large blue beads out of her top drawer, to
put them in readiness with to-morrow's dress. No ;
I don't think that a bit ; and if I zvere a savage, I
should hang myself all over with beads and love it.
She had spoken with such conviction Up
here, with her things arranged round her as she
had had them at home and in her bedroom at the
Greens', she kept her life as it had always been. She
was still her unchanged self, but her freedom was
giving her the strength to be sure of her opinions.
It was as if she had been saying all the evening with
long accumulating preparedness, holding her poise
throughout the interruptions of customers and
down into the details of the story of her adventures,
Tes I know your opinions, I have heard them all
my life, and now I'm out in the world myself and
can meet everybody as an equal, and say what I
think, without wondering whether it suits my part
as the Greens' governess. She had got her strength
from the things she had done. It was amazing to
think of her summoning courage to break again with
the Greens and borrowing from them to start in
business, Mr. Green ' setting his heart ' on the
success of the little shop and meaning to come
down and see how it was getting on. How awful
it would be if it did not get on. . . . But it was
getting on How terrifying it must have
been at first not knowing the price of anything in
the shop or what to buy for it . . . and then.
customers telling her the prices of things and where
they were kept, and travellers being kind ; respect-
ful and friendly and ready to go out of their way
to do anything .... that was the other side of
Maupassant's " hourrah pour la petite difference "
commis voyageurs .... and well-to-do people in
the neighbourhood rushing in for some little thing,
taken aback to find a lady behind the counter, and
coming again for all sorts of things. . . . Eve would
become like one of those middle-aged women shop-
keepers in books, in the country, with a kind heart
and a sarcastic tongue, seeing through everybody
and having the same manner for the vicar and a
ploughman, or a rather nicer manner for a plough-
man. No. Eve was still sentimental. . . .
Those wonderful letters were a bridge ; a
promise for the future. . . . They were the letters
of a boy ; that was the struggling impression she
had not been able to convey. She could start the
day well by telling Eve that in the morning. They
were the letters of a youth in love for the first time
in his life . . . and he had fifteen grandchildren.
" So wonderful when you think of that old, old
man " had not expressed it at all. They were
wonderful for anybody. Page after page, all
breathing out the way things shine when the sense
of someone who is not there, is there all the time.
Eve knew what it had meant to him ; " age makes
no difference." Then might life suddenly shine
like that at any moment, right up to the end. . . .
And it made Eve so wonderful ; having no idea,
all those years, and thinking him just a very kind
old man to come, driving, almost from his death-
bed, with a little rose-tree in the carriage for her.
It was so perfect that he wrote only after she had
gone, and he knew he was dying ; a youth in love for
the first time. If there were a future life he would
be watching, for Eve to walk gently in crowned
with song and making everything sing all round her.
. . . But what of the wife, and of Eve's future
husband ? In Heaven there is neither marrying
nor giving in marriage .... but Kingsley said,
then that has nothing to do with me and my wife.
Perhaps that was an example of the things he
suddenly thought of, walking quickly up and down
the garden with a friend, and introduced by saying
" I have always thought " But perhaps the
things that occur to you suddenly for the first
time in conversation are the things you have always
thought, without knowing it ... . that was one
of the good things in talking to Michael Shatov,
finding out thoughts, looking at them when they
were expressed and deciding to change them, or
think them more decidedly than ever . . she
could explain all that to Eve in the morning as an
introduction to him. Or perhaps she could again say,
having Eve's attention free of the shop, " I have
two pounds to spend on chocolate. Isn't it extra-
ordinary. I must, I am on my honour," and then
go on. It was horrible that Eve had hardly noticed
such a startling remark. . . . She turned im-
patiently ; the morning would never come ; she
would never sleep in this stagnant shut-in motion-
less air. To-morrow night she would be in a room
by herself at Harry's ; but not quite so near to the
sea. How could Eve shut out life and the sound of
the sea ? She puffed her annoyance, hardly caring
if Eve were disturbed, ready to ask her if she could
not smell the smell of the house and the shop and
the little back room. But that was not true. She
was imagining it because the motionless air was
getting on her nerves. If she could not forget it
she would have no sleep until she dozed with
exhaustion in the morning. And to-morrow was
Christmas Day. She lay still, straining her ears to
catch the sound of the sea.
The next night the air poured in at an open
window, silently lifting long light muslin curtains
and waving them about the little narrow room
filled as with moonlight by the soft blue light from
the street-lamp below. The sound of the sea
drowned the present in the sense of sea-side
summers ; bringing back moments of chance
wakenings on sea-side holidays, when the high blaze
of yesterday and to-morrow were together in the
darkness. Miriam slept at once and woke refreshed
and careless in the frosty sunrise. Her room was
blazing with golden light. She lay motionless,
contemplating it. There was no sound in the
house. She could watch the sunlight till some-
thing happened. Harry would see that she got up
in time for breakfast. There would be sunlight at
breakfast in the room below ; and Harry and
Gerald and the remains of Christmas leisure
" We only keep going because of Elspeth." How
could she have gone off to sleep last night without
recalling that ? If Harry and Gerald found
marriage a failure, it was a failure. Perhaps it was
a passing phase and they would think differently
later on. But they had spoken so simply, as if it
were a commonplace fact known to everybody . . .
they had met so many people by this time. Nearly
all their lodgers had been married, and unhappy.
Perhaps that was because they were nearly all
theatrical people ? If Harry had stayed in London
and not had to work for a living would she have
been happier ? No ; she was gayer down here ;
even more herself. It amused her to have rushes,
and turn out three rooms after ten o'clock at night.
They both seemed to run the house as a sort of
joke, and remained absolutely themselves. Perhaps
that was just in talking about it, at Christmas, to
her. It certainly must be horrible in the season, as
Harry said, the best part of the house packed with
selfish strangers for the very best part of the year ;
so much to do for them all day that there was never
even time to run down to the sea Visitors
did not think of that. If they considered their
landlady it would spoil their one fortnight of being
free. Landladies ought to be old ; not minding
about working all day for other people and never
seeing the sea. Harry was too young to be a land-
lady the gently moving curtains were
flat against the window again for a moment, a veil
of thin muslin screening the brilliant gold, making
it an even tone all over the room ; a little oblong of
misty golden light. Even for Harry's sake she could
not let any tinge of sadness invade it. . . That was
being exactly like the summer visitors. . .
" Good Gracious ! " The door was open and
Harry, entering with a jug of hot water was
enveloped in the end of the out-blown curtains.
" Why on Earth d'you have your window like that ?
It's simply bitter.''^
" I love it " said Miriam, watching Harriett's
active little moving form battle with the flying
draperies. " I'm revelling in it."
*' Well I won't presume to shut it ; but revel up.
Here you are. Breakfast's nearly ready. Hold the
ends while I get out and shut the door."
Harry too ; and she used to be so fond of open
windows. But it was not a snub. She would say to
Gerald she's got her window bang open, isn't she
an old Cure P She got out singing into the fresh
golden air leaving the window wide. The London
temptation to shirk her swift shampoo and huddle
on a garment did not come. The sense of summer
was so strong in the bright air that she felt sure,
if only she could have always bright screened light
in her room, summer warmth and summer happi-
ness would last the whole year round.
Gerald was pouring out coffee. In the kitchen
the voices of Harriett and Mrs. Thimm were railing
cheerfully together. Harriett came in with a rush,
slamming the door. " Is it too warm for you in here
Miss Henderson ? " she asked as she drove Gerald to
his own end of the table.
" It's glorious " said Miriam subsiding into in-
definite anticipation. The room was very warm
with sunlight and a blazing fire. But there was no
pressure anywhere. It was their youth and the way
being with them made things go backwards as far
as one could see and confidently forward from any
room they happened to be in. A meal with them
always seemed as if it might go on for ever. She
glanced affectionately from one to the other, long-
ing to convey to them in some form of words the
thing they did not seem to know, the effect they
made, together, through having been together from
such early beginnings, how it gave and must always
give a confidence to the very expression of their hair,
making them always about to start life together. It
came from Harriett, and was reflected by Gerald, a
light that played about him, decking him in his
most unconscious, busy, man's moments with the
credit of having found Harriett. They seemed more
suitably arranged, confronted here together in this
bright eventful house, meeting adventures together,
mutually efficient towards a common end, than v/ith
Gerald in business and Harry silken and leisurely in
a suburban house
'' We'll be more glorious in a minute " said Gerald
sweeping actively about. " I'll just move that old
" Oh of course " mocked Harriett, " look at the
importance . . ."
Whistling softly Gerald placed a small square box
on the table amongst the breakfast things.
" Oh dear me " moaned Harriett from behind the
coffee pot, smirking coyly backwards over her shoul-
der, " hoh, ar^nH we grand." " It's the new toy "
she rapped avertedly towards Miriam, in a despair-
ing whisper. Gerald interrupted his whistling to
fix on to the box a sort of trumpet, a thing that
looked like a wide-open green nasturtium.
" Is it a musical box ? " asked Miriam.
" D'you mean to say you've never seen a gramo-
phone yet ? " murmured Gerald, frowning and
flicking away dust with his handkerchief. They did
not mean as much as they appeared to do when they
said Hfe was not worth Hving they had
not discovered Hfe. Gerald did not know the mean-
ing of his interest in things. " People grieve and
bemoan themselves, but it is not half so bad with
them as they say "
" I haven't. I've heard them squeaking inside
public houses of course."
'' Now's your chance then. Woa Jemima !
That's the ticket. Now she's off "
_ Miriam waited, breathless ; eagerly prepared to
accept the coming wonder. A sound like the crack-
ling of burning twigs came out into the silence. She
remembered her first attempt to use a telephone,
the need for concentrating calmly through the pre-
liminary tumult, on the certainty that intelligible
sounds would presently emerge, and listened en-
couragingly for a voice. The crackling changed to
a metallic scraping, labouring steadily round and
round, as if it would go on for ever ; it ceased and
an angry stentorian voice seemed to be struggling,
half-smothered, in the neck of the trumpet. Miriam
gazed, startled, at the yawning orifice, as the voice
suddenly escaped and leapt out across the table with
a shout — ' Edison-BELL RECord ! Lightly struck
chords tinkled far away, fairy music, sounding clear
and distinct on empty space remote from the steady
scraping of the machine. Then a song began. The
whole machine seemed to sing it ; vibrating with
effort, sending forth the notes in a jerky staccato,
the scarcely touched words clipped and broken to fit
the jingling tune ; the sustained upper notes at the
end of the verse wavered chromatically, as if the
machine were using its last efforts to reach the true
pitch ; it ceased and the far away chords came again,
fainter and further away. In the second verse the
machine struggled more feebly and slackened its
speed, flattened suddenly to a lower key, wavered on,
flattening from key to key and collapsed, choking,
on a single downward-slurring squeak
" Oh, but that's absolutely perfect " gasped
" You want to set it slower silly ; it all began too
" / know, la reine, he knows, he'll set it slower all
Tliis time the voice marched lugubriously forth,
with a threatening emphasis on each word ; the sus-
tained notes blared wide through their mufilings ;
yawned out by an angry lion.
" My word " said Harriett " it's a funeral this
" But it's glorious ! Can you make it go as slowly
as you like ? "
" We'll get it right presently, never fear."
Miriam felt that no correct performance could be
better than what she had heard, and listened care-
lessly to the beginning of the third performance. If
it succeeded the blissful light flowing from the room
out over her distant world must either be shattered
by her tacit repudiation of the cheaply devised ditty,
or treacherously preserved at the price of simulated
satisfaction. The prelude sounded nearer this time,
revealing a piano and an accompanist, and the song
came steadily out, a pleasant kindly baritone.
beating along on a middle key ; a nice unimaginative
brown-haired young man, who happened to have a
voice. She ceased to attend ; the bright breakfast-
table, the cheerfully decorated square room bathed
in the brilhant morning light that was flooding the
upward slope of the town from the wide sky tower-
ing above the open sea, was suddenly outside space
and time, going on for ever untouched ; the early
days flowed up, recovered completely from the pas-
sage of time, going forward with to-day added to
them, forever. The march of the refrain came lilt-
ing across the stream of days, joyfully beating out
the common recognition of the three listeners. She
restrained her desire to take it up, flinging out her
will to hold back the others, that they might face
out the moment and let it make its full mark. In
the next refrain they could all take the relief of
shouting their acknowledgement, a hymn to the
three-fold life. The last verse was coming success-
fully through ; in an instant the chorus refrain
would be there. It was old and familiar, woven
securely into experience, beginning its life as
memory. She listened eagerly. It was partly too,
she thought, absence of singer and audience that
redeemed both the music and the words. It was a
song overheard ; sounding out innocently across the
morning. She saw the sun shining on the distant
hill-tops, the comrades in line, and the lingering
lover tearing himself away for the roll-call. The re-
frain found her far away, watching the scene until
the last note should banish it.
The door opened and Elspeth stood in the door-
" Well my pet ? " said Harriett and Gerald gently,
She trotted round the open door, carefully closing
it with her body, her steady eyes taking in the dis-
position of affairs. In a moment she stood near the
table, the silky rounded golden crown of her head
rising just above it. Miriam thrilled at her nearness,
delighting in the firm clutch of the tiny hand on the
edge of the table, the gentle shapely bulge of the
ends of her hair inturned towards her neck, the little
busy bustling expression of her bunchy motionless
little muslin dress. Suddenly she looked up in her
way, Gerald's disarming gentleness, all Eve's reined-
in gaiety ..." I your baby ? " she asked with a
small lunge of affection. Miriam blushed. The
tiny thing had remembered from yesterday
Yes, she murmured encircling her and pressing her
Hps to the warm silken top of her head. Gerald
burst into loud wailing. Elspeth moved backwards
towards Harriett and stood propped against her, con-
templating him with sunny interest. Harriett's firm
ringed hand covered the side of her head.
" Poor Poppa " she suggested.
" Be m-ut Gerald ! " Elspeth cried serenely,
frowning with effort. She stood on tip-toe survey-
ing the contents of the table and waved a peremp-
tory hand towards the gramophone. Gerald tried
to make a bargain. Lifted on to Harriett's knee she
bunched her hands and sat compact. The direct
rays made her head a little sunlit sphere, smoothly
outlined with silky pale gold hair bulging softly over
each ear, the broken curve continued by the gentle
bulge of her cheeks as she pursed her face to meet
the sunlight. She peered unsmiHng, but every curve
smiled ; a little sunny face, sunlit. Fearing that
she would move, Miriam tried to centre attention
by seeming engrossed in Gerald's operations,
glancing sideways meanwhile in an entrancement
o£ effort to define in her small perfection. The list
of single items summoned images of children who
missed her charm by some accentuation of charac-
ter, pointing backwards to the emphatic qualities of
a relative and forward so clearly that already they
seemed adult. Elspeth predicted nothing. The
closest observation revealed no point of arrest. Her
undivided impression once caught, could be re-
covered in each separate feature.
Eve came in as the music ceased. In the lull that
followed the general greetings Miriam imagined a
repetition of the song, to carry Eve back into what
had gone before and forward with them in the un-
changed morning. But Mrs. Thimm broke in with
a tray and scattered them all towards the fire. Let's
hear Molly Darling once more she thought in a
casual tone. After yesterday Eve would take that
as a lack of interest in her presence. Supposing she
did ? She was so changed that she could be treated
without consideration, as an equal but
she overdid it, preening herself, caring more for the
idea of independence than for the fact. That would
not keep her going. She would not be strong enough
to sustain her independence
The sense of triumph threw up an effulgence even
^vhile Miriam accused herself of cruelty in contem-
plating the droopy exhaustion which had outlived
Eve's day of rest. But she was not alone in this ;
nice good people were secretly impatient with rela-
tives who were always threatening to break down
and become problems. And Eve had almost ceased
to be a relative. Descending to the rank of com-
petitor she was no longer a superior she
was an inferior masquerading as an equal
that was what men meant in the newspapers. Then
it couldn't be true. There was some other ex-
planation. It was because she was using her inde-
pendence as a revenge for the past What
men resented was the sudden reflection of their
detachment by women who had for themselves dis-
covered its secret, and knew what uncertainties went
on behind it. She was resenting Eve's independence
as a man would do. Eve was saying she now under-
stood the things that in the past she had only
admired, and that they were not so admirable, and
quite easy to do. But she disgraced the discovery
by flaunting it. It was so evident that it was her
shop, not she that had come into the room and
spoiled the morning. Even now she was dwelling
on next week. Inside her mind was nothing but her
customers, travellers, the possible profits, her many
plans for improvement. Nothing else could impress
her. Anything she contributed would rest more
than ever, now that Christmas Day was over, upon
a back-ground of absent-minded complacency. Like
herself, with the Brooms ? Was it she who was being
judged and not Eve ? No, or only by herself.
Harriett shared her new impressions of Eve, saw
how eagerly in her clutch on her new interests she
had renounced her old background of inexhaustible
sympathy. Gerald did not. But men have no sense
o£ atmosphere. They only see the appearances of
things, understanding nothing o£ their relationships.
Bewilderment, pessimistic philosophies, regretful
The song might banish Eve's self-assertion and
bring back something of her old reality. Music, any
music, would always make Eve real. Perhaps Elspeth
would ask for it. But in the long inactive seconds,
things had rushed ahead shattering the sunlit hour.
Nothing could make it settle again. Eve had missed
it for ever. But she had discovered its presence.
Its broken vestiges played about her retreat as she
turned away to Elspeth ; Gerald who alone was un-
conscious of her discovery, having himself been
spell-bound without recognising his whereabouts,
was inaccessibly filling his pipe. She was far-off
now, trying to break her way in by an attack on
Elspeth. Miriam watched anxiously, reading the
quality of their daily intercourse. Elspeth was re-
sponding with little imitative movements, arch
smiles and gestures. Miriam writhed. Eve would
teach her to see life as people, a few prominent
over-emphasised people in a fixed world But
Elspeth soon broke away to trot up and down the
hearth-rug, and when Gerald caught and held her,
asking as he puffed at his pipe above her head a rally-
ing question about the shop, she stood propped
looking from face to face, testing voices.
The morning had changed to daytime
Gerald and Eve made busy needless statements,
going over in the form of question and answer the
history of the shop, and things that had been obvi-
ously already discussed to exhaustion. Across
Harriett's face thoughts about Eve and her venture
passed in swift comment on the conversation. Now
and again she betrayed her impatience, leaping out
into abrupt ironic emendations and presently rose
with a gasp, thumping Miriam gently, " Come on,
you've got to try on that blouse." The colloquy
snapped. Eve turned a flushed face and sat back
looking uneasily into vacancy as if for something she
had forgotten to say.
" Try it on down here," said Gerald.
" Don't be idiotic."
" It's all right. We shan't mind. We won't look
till she's got it on."
" If you look then, you will be dazzled by my
radiance." Miriam stood listening in astonishment
to the echoes of the phrase, fashioned from nothing
upon her lips by something within her, unknown,
wildly to be welcomed if its power of using words
that left her not merely untouched and unspent,
but taut and invigorated, should prove to be reli-
able. She watched the words go forward outside
her with a life of their own, palpable, a golden
thread between herself and the world, the first
strand of a bright pattern she and Gerald would
weave from their separate engrossments whenever
their lives should cross. Through Gerald's banter-
ing acknowledgement she gazed out before her into
the future, an endless perspective of blissful un-
broken silence, shielded by the gift of speech
The figure of Eve, sitting averted towards the fire,
flung her back. To Eve her words were not silence ;
but a blow deliberately struck. With a thrill of sad-
ness she recognised the creative power of anger. If
she had not been angry with Eve she would have
w^ondered whether Gerald were secretly amused by
her continued interest in blouses, and have fallen
stupidly dumb before the need of explaining, as her
mind now rapidly proceeded to do, cancelling her
sally as a base foreign achievement, that her interest
was only a passing part of holiday relaxation, to be
obliterated to-morrow by the renewal of a life that
held everything he thought she was missing, in a
way and with a quality new and rich beyond any-
thing he could dream, and contemplating these
things, would have silently left him with his judg-
ment confirmed. She had moved before Gerald,
safely ensphered in the life of words, and in the same
movement was departing now, on the wings of
Harriett's rush, a fiend denying her kindred.
Running upstairs she reflected that if the finished
blouse suited her it was upon Eve that it would most
powerfully cast its spell. The shoulders had been
good. Defects in the other parts could not spoil
them, and the squareness of her shoulders was an
odd thing for which she was not responsible. Eve
only admired them because hers sloped. She would
come down again as the gay buffoon Eve used to
know, letting the effect of the blouse be incidental,
making to-day to-day, shaking them all out of the
contemplation of circumstances. She would give
some of her old speeches and musical sketches, if she
could manage to begin when Gerald was not there,
and Eve would laugh till she cried. No one would
guess that she was buoyed up by her own invisible
circumstances, forgotten as she browsed amongst
new impressions, and now returning upon her
moment by moment with accumulated force. But
upstairs, confronted by Harriett in the summerht
seaside sunshine, she found the past half-hour be-
tween them, pressing for comment, and they danced
silently confronting each other, dancing and dancing
till they had said their say.
The visit ended in the stillness that fell upon the
empty carriage as the train left the last red-roofed
houses behind and slid out into the open country.
She swung for an instant over the spread of the
town, serene unchanging sunlit grey, and brilliant
white, green shuttered and balconied, towards the
sea, warm yellow brick, red-roofed, towards the
inland green, her visit still ahead of her. But the
interiors of Eve's dark little house and Harriett's
bright one slipped in between her and the pictured
town, and the four days' succession of incidents
overtook her in disorder, playing themselves out,
backwards and forwards, singly, in clear succession,
two or three together, related to each other by some
continuity of mood within herself, pell mell, swiftly
interchanging, each scene in turn claiming the fore-
most place ; moments stood out dark and over-
shadowing ; the light that flooded the whole strove
in vain to reach these painful peaks. The far-away
spring offered a healing repetition of her visit ; but
the moments remained immovable. Eve would
still be obstinately saying the Baws and really think-
ing she knew which side she was on
Wawkup and Poole Carey those were
quotations as certainly as were Eve's newspaper
ideas ; Wimpolc Street quotations. The thing was
that Eve had learned to want to be always in the
right and was not swift enough in gathering things
not worldly enough. The train was rock-
ing and swaying in its rush towards its first stop.
After that the journey would seem only a few
minutes, time passing more and more rapidly filled
with the pressure of London coming nearer and
nearer. But the junction was still a good way
" No. It's nothing of that kind. All Russian
students are like that. They have everything in
common. On the inside of the paper he had
written it will be unfriendly if it should occur to
you to feel any sentiment of resentment. What
could I do ? Oh yes they would. A Russian would
think nothing of spending two pounds on chocolate
if he wanted to. They live on bread too, nothing
but bread and tea, some of them, for the sake of
being able to work. What I can't make him see is
that although I am earning my living and he is not,
he is preparing to earn a much more solid living
than I ever shall. He says he is ashamed to be doing
nothing while I am already independent. The next
moment he is indignant that I have not enough for
clothes and food ; I have to be absolutely rude to
make him let me pay for myself at restaurants.
When I say it is worth it and I have enough much
more than thousands of women workers he is silent
with indignation. Then when I say that what is
really wrong is that I have been cheated of my
student period and ought to be living on somebody
as a student, he says, pairhaps, but you are in life,
that is the more important.
" All right, I will ask him. Poor Httle man. He
has spent his Christmas at Tansley Street. He would
adore Elspeth ; although she Is not a ' beef-steak.'
He says there are no children in Europe finer than
English children, and will stop suddenly in the
middle of a serious conversation to say look, look ;
but that is a real English beef-steak."
Harry had partly understood. But she still clung
to her private thoughts. Meeting him to-day would
not be quite the same as before she had mentioned
him to anyone. Summoning his familiar form she
felt that her talk had been treachery. Yet not
to have mentioned him at all felt like treachery
" There's quite an interesting Russian at Tansley
Street now." That meant simply nothing at all.
. . . Christmas had been an interruption . . . Per-
haps something would have happened in his first
days of London without her. Perhaps he would not
appear this evening.
Back at her work at Wimpole Street she forgot
everything in a sudden glad realisation of the turn
of the year. The sky was bright above the grey wall
opposite her window. Soon there would be bright
light in it at five o'clock, daylight remaining to walk
home in, then at six, and she would see once more
for another year the light of the sun on the green
of the park. The alley of crocuses would come
again, then daffodils in the grass and the green of
the on-coming blue-bells. Her table was littered
with newly paid accounts, enough to occupy her pen
for the short afternoon with pleasant writing, the
reward of the late evenings spent before Christmas
in hurrying out overdue statements, and the easy
prelude to next week's crowded work on the yearly
balance sheets. She sat stamping and signing, and
writing picturesque addresses, her eyes dwelling all
the while in contemplation of the gift of the out-
spread year. The patients were few and no calls
came from the surgeries. Tea came up while she
still felt newly-arrived from the outside world, and
the outspread scenes in her mind were gleaming
still with fresh high colour in bright light, but the
last receipt was signed, and a pile of envelopes lay
ready for the post.
She welcomed the sound of Mrs. Orly's voice,
tired and animated at the front door, and rose
gladly as she came into the room with little bright
broken incoherent phrases, and the bright deep
unwearied dauntless look of welcome in her little
tired face. She was swept into the den and kept
there for a prolonged tea-time, being questioned in
detail about her Christmas in Eve's shop, seeing
Mrs. Orly's Christmas presents and presently
moving in and out of groups of people she knew
only by name. An extraordinary number of
disasters had happened amongst them. She listened
without surprise. Always all the year round
these people seemed to live under the shadow
of impending troubles. But Mrs. Orly's dolorous
list made Christmas seem to be, for them, a time
devoted to the happening of things that crashed
down in their midst, dealing out life-long results.
Mrs. Orly talked rapidly, satisfied with gestures of
sympathy, but Miriam was conscious that her
sympathy was not falling where it was demanded.
She watched the family centres unmoved, her mind
hovering over their imagined houses, looking regret-
fully at the shattered whole, the views from their
windows that belonged to the past and were
suddenly strange as when they had first seen them ;
passing on to their servants and friends and out-
wards into their social life, following results as far
as she could, the principal sufferers impressing her
all the time in the likeness of people who suddenly
make avoidable disturbances in the midst of a con-
versation. Driven back, from the vast questioning
silence at the end of her outward journey, to the
centres of Mrs. Orly's pictures, she tried to dwell
sympathetically with the stricken people and fled
aghast before their inexorable circumstances. They
were all so hemmed in, so closely grouped that they
had no free edges, and were completely, publicly
at the mercy of the things that happened. Every-
one in social life was aware of this. Experienced
people said " there is always something,^'' " a skeleton
in every cupboard " But why did people
get into cupboards ? Something or someone was
to blame. In some way that pressed through the
picture now in one form and now in another, just
eluding expression in any single statement she could
frame, these bright-looking lives, free of all that
civilisation had to offer, were all to blame ; all
facing the same way, unaware of anything but the
life they lived among themselves, they made the
shadow that hung over them all ; they invited its
sudden descents She felt that her
thoughts were cruel ; like an unprovoked blow,
worthy of instant revenge by some invisible obser-
vant third party ; but even while in the presence
of Mrs. Orly's sympathy she accused herself of
heartlessness and strove to retreat into a kindher
outlook, she was aware, moving within her con-
viction, of some dim shape of truth that no sym-
pathy could veil.
At six o'clock the front door closed behind her,
shutting her out into the multitudinous pattering
of heavy rain. With the sight of the familiar
street shortened by darkness to a span lit faintly by
dull rain-shrouded lamps, her years of daily setting
forth into London came about her more clearly
.than ever before as a single unbroken achievement.
Jubilantly she reasserted, facing the invitation
flowing towards her from single neighbourhoods
standing complete and independent, in inexhaustibly
various loveliness through the procession of night
and day, linked by streets and by-ways living in her
as mood and reverie, that to have the freedom of
London was a life in itself. Incidents from Mrs.
Orly's conversation pressing forward through her
outcry, heightened her sense of freedom. If the
sufferers were her own kindred, if disaster threatened
herself, walking in London, she would pass into
that strange familiar state, where all clamourings
seemed unreal and on in the end into complete
Two scenes flashed forth from the panorama
beyond the darkness and while she glanced at the
vagrants stretched asleep on the grass in the Hyde
Park summer, carefully to be skirted and yet most
dreadfully claiming her companionship, she saw,
narrow and gaslit, the little unlocated street that
had haunted her first London years, herself flitting
into it, always unknowingly, from a maze of sur-
rounding streets, feeling uneasy, recognising it,
hurrying to pass its awful centre where she must
read the name of a shop, and, dropped helplessly
into the deepest pit of her memory, struggle on
through thronging images threatening, each time
more powerfully, to draw her willingly back and
back through the intervening spaces of her life to
some deserved destruction of mind and body, until
presently she emerged faint and quivering, in a
wide careless thoroughfare. She had forgotten it ;
perhaps somehow learned to avoid it. Her imagined
figure passed from the haunted scene, and from the
vast spread of London the tide flowed through it,
leaving it a daylit part of the whole, its spell broken
and gone. She struggled with her stiffly opening
umbrella, listening joyfully to the sound of the
London rain. She asked nothing of life but to
stay where she was, to go on London was
her pillar of cloud and fire, undeserved, but un-
solicited, life's free gift. In still exultation she
heard her footsteps go down into the street and
along the streaming pavement. The light from
a lamp just ahead fell upon a figure, plunging in a
swift diagonal across the muddy roadway towards
her. He had come to meet her . . . invading her
street. She fled exasperated, as she slackened her
pace, before this postponement of her meeting
with London, and silently drove him off, as he
swept round to walk at her side, asking him how he
dared unpermitted to bring himself, and the evening,
and the evening mood, across her inviolable hour.
His overcoat was grey with rain and as she glanced
he was scanning her silence with that sHght quiver-
ing of his features. Poor brave Httle lonely man.
He had spent his Christmas at Tansley Street.
" Well ? How was it ? " he said. He was a
gaoler, shutting her in.
" Oh it was all right."
" Your sisters are well ? Ah I must tell you," his
voice boomed confidently ahead into the darkness ;
" while I waited I have seen two of your doctors."
" They are not doctors."
" I had an immensely good impression. I find
them both most fine English types."
" Hm ; they're absolutely English." She saw
them coming out, singly, preoccupied, into their
street. English. He standing under his lamp, a
ramshackle foreigner whom they might have re-
garded with suspicion, taking them in with a flash
of his prepared experienced brown eye.
" Abso-lutuUy. This unmistakable expression of
humanity and fine sympathetic intelligence. Ah,
it is fine."
" I know. But they have very simple minds,
they quote their opinions."
" I do not say that you will find in the best
English types a striking originality of mentality " he
exclaimed reproachfully. Her attention pounced
unwillingly upon the promised explanation of her
own impressions, tired in advance at the prospect
of travelling through his carefully pronounced
sentences while the world she had come out to
meet lay disregarded all about her. " But you
will find what is perhaps more important, the
characteristic features of your English civilisation."
" I know. I can see that ; because I am neither
EngHsh nor civihsed."
" That is a nonsense. You are most EngUsh.
No, but it is really most wonderful," his voice
dropped again to reverence and she listened eagerly,
" how in your best aristocracy and in the best types
o£ professional men, your lawyers and clerics and
men of science, is to be read so strikingly this
history of your nation. There is a something
common to them all that shines out, durchleuchtend,
showing, sometimes, understand me, with almost
a naivety, the centuries of your freedom. Ah it is
not for nothing that the word gentleman comes
" I know, I know what you mean " said Miriam
in contemplation, they were naive ; showing their
thoughts, in sets, readable, with shapes and edges,
but it was the Tories and clerics who had the
roomiest, most sympathetic expressions, liberals
and nonconformists had no thoughts at all, only
ideas. Lawyers had no ideas even . . .
" You would like my father ; he hasn't a scrap
of originality, only that funny old-fashioned English
quality from somewhere or other Heaven knows "
. . . and they could play chess together ! . . . .
" But lawyers are not gentlemen. They are per-
" That is a prejudice. Your Enghsh law is the
very basis of your P-nglish freedom."
" They arc awful. The others look Christians.
They don^t.^^ Fancy defending Christianity . . .
" The thing you are seeing," she said, " is
Christianity. I don't mean that there is anything
in it ; but Christian ideas have made EngHsh
civilisation ; that's what it is. But how can you say
all these things when you believe we are grabbing
diamond mines ? " Haw, what P Champagne and
Grand pianos. Nice, jolly prejudiced simpletons ;
not even able to imagine that England ought not to
have everything there was to be had, everywhere.
Quite right, better for everybody .... but . . .
wir reiten, Pieter, reiten .... oh Lord . . . who
was right ?
" Stop a bit, stop a bit. Christianity will not
explain. There are other Christian countries where
there is no sign of this thing that is in England.
No. The explanation is very simple. It is that
you have had in England through a variety of
causes, not the least of which is your Protestant
Reformation, a relatively very rapid and unre-
stricted secular development."
" What about Germany and Holland ? "
" Both quite different stories. There was in
England a specially favourable gathering of cir-
cumstances for rapid secularistic development."
" Then if we have been made by our circumstances
it is no credit to us."
" I have not said anything about credit.''^
" But there are people now who think we are
dying of the Reformation ; not the break with
Rome ; but with Catholic history and tradition.
No, wait a minute, it's interesting. They have
discovered, proved^ that there was Christianity in
Britain, and British Christian Churches, long
before the Romans came. That means that we are
as old, and as direct as Rome. The Pope is nothing
but a Roman Bishop. I feel it is an immense
relief, to know we go right back, ourselves ; when
I think of it."
" All these clericalisms are immaterial to /(/<?."
" Then there were two Popes at one time, and
there is the Greek church. I wonder Newman
didn't think of that. Now he is one of your fine
English types, although he looks scared, as if he had
seen a ghost. If he had known about the early
British church perhaps he would not have gone
over to Rome."
" I cannot follow all this. But what is indis-
putable is, that in every case of rehgious authority,
secular development has been held back. Buckle
has completely demonstrated this in a most masterly
exhaustive consideration of the civilisations of
Europe. Ah it is marvellous, this book, one of your
finest decorations ; and without any smallest touch
of fanaticism ; he is indeed perhaps one of your
greatest minds of the best English type, full of
sensibility and fine gentleness."
Miriam was back, as she listened, in the Chiswick
villa, in bed in the yellow lamp-light with a cold,
the pages of the Apologia reading themselves
without effort into her molten mind, as untroubled
beauty and happiness, making what Newman
sought seem to be at home in herself, revealing
deep inside life a whole new strange place of
existence that was yet familiar, so that the gradual
awful gathering of his trouble was a personal
experience, and the moment of conviction that
schism was a deliberate death, a personal con-
viction. She wondered why she always forgot that
the problem had been solved. Glancing beyond
the curve of her umbrella she caught, with his last
words, the sudden confident grateful shining of
Mr. Shatov's lifted face and listened eagerly.
" It is this one thing," she lifted the umbrella
his way in sudden contrition, shifting it so that it
sheltered neither of them ; " Thank you I am
quite well. It is hardly now raining " he muttered
at his utmost distance of foreign intonation and
bearing. She peered out into the air, shutting her
umbrella. They had come out of their way, away
from the streets into a quietness. It must be
the Inner Circle. They would have to walk right
" It is this one thing " again it was as if her own
voice were speaking, " this thesis of the conditions
of the development of peoples," Anglican priests
married ; but not the highest high-Anglican. But
they were always going over to Rome ..." that
has made your Buckle so precious to the Russian
intelligentsia. In England he is scarcely now read,
though I have seen by the way his works in this
splendid little edition of World Classics, the same
as your Emerson, why did you take only Emerson ?
There is a whole row, the most fascinating things."
" My Emerson was given to me. I didn't know
it came from anywhere in particular."
" This Richards must be a most enlightened
publisher. I should wish to possess all those
volumes. The Buckle I will certainly take at once
and you shall see. He is of course out of date in
the matter of exact science and this is no doubt
part reason why in England he is no more read.
It is a great pity. His mind is perhaps greater than
even your Darwin, certainly with a far wider
philosophical range, and o£ far greater originality.
What is wonderful is his actual anticipation, in idea,
without researches, of a large part of what Darwin
discovered more accidentally, as a result of his
immense naturalistic researches."
" Someone will discover some day that Darwin's
conclusions were wrong, that he left out some
Httle near obvious thing with big results, and his
theory, which has worried thousands of people
nearly to death, will turn out to be one of those
everlasting mannish explanations of everything
which explain nothing. I know what you are going
to say ; a subsequent reversal of a doctrine does
not invalidate scientific method. I know. But
these everlasting theories, and men are so ' eminent '
and important about them, are appalling ; in
medicine, it is simply appalling, and people are
just as ill as ever ; and when they know Darwin was
mistaken, there will be an end of Herbert Spencer.
There's my father, really an intelligent man, he
has done scientific research himself and knew
Faraday, and he thinks First Principles the greatest
book that was ever written. I have argued and
argued but he says he is too old to change his
cosmos. It makes mc simply ill to think of him
living in a cosmos made by Herbert Spencer."
" Wait. Excuse me but that is all too easy. In
matter of science the conclusions of Darwin will
never be displaced. It is as the alphabet of biology,
as Galilei is of Astronomy. More. These re-
searches even need not be made again. They are
for all time verified. Herbert Spencer I agree
has carried too far in too wholesale a manner
conclusions based on Darwin's discoveries ; con-
clusions may lead to many inapplicable theories,
that is immaterial ; but Darwin himself made no
such theories. There is no question of opinion as
to his discoveries ; he supplies simply unanswerable
" I think it's Huxley who makes me angry with
Darwinism. He didn't find it out, and he went
swaggering about using it as a weapon ; frightfully
conceited about it. That Thomas Henry Huxley
should come off best in an argument was quite as
important to him as spreading the Darwinian
theory. I never read anything like his accounts of
his victories in his letters."
" That is most certainly not the spirit of Darwin,
who was a most gentle creature But you
really surprise me in your attitude towards the
profession of law."
" I don't know anything whatever about laws ;
but I have met lawyers, barristers and solicitors,
and I think they are the most ignorant, pig-headed
people in the world. They have no minds at all.
They don't affect me. But if I were ever before a
judge I should shoot him. They use cases to show
off their silly wit, sitting thinking of puns ; and
people are put to death."
" You are in this matter both prejudiced and
unjust, believe me. You cannot in any case make
individuals responsible in this matter of capital
punishment. That is for all humanity. I see you
are like myself, a dreamer. But it is bad to let what
might be, blind you to actuality. To the great
actuahty, in this case, that in matters of justice
between man and man England has certainly led the
civilised world. In France, it is true, there is a
certain special generosity towards certain types of
provoked crime ; but France has not the large
responsibilities of England. The idea of abstract
justice, is stronger in England than anywhere.
But what you do not see is that in confessing
ignorance of your law you pay it the highest possible
tribute. You do not know what individual liberty
is because you know nothing of any other con-
dition. Ah you cannot conceive what strangeness
and wonder there is for a Russian in this spectacle
of a people so free that they hold their freedom as
a matter of course."
Decked. Distinguished. Marked among the
nations, for unconscious qualities. What is England ?
What do the qualities mean ?
" I'm not interested in laws. If I knew what
they were I should like to break them. Trespassers
will be prosecuted always makes me furious."
" That is merely a technical by-law. That is
just one of your funny English high-churchish-
nesses this trespassers ah I must tell you
I was just now in the Hyde Park. There was a
meeting, ah it was indeed wonderful to me all
these people freely gathered together ! There was
some man addressing them, I could not hear, but
suddenly a man near me on the outskirt of the
crowd shouted in full voice " Chamberlain is a
damned liar ! " Yes, but wait for your English
laughter. That is not the whole. There was also
quite near me, a very big John Bull bohhy. He
turned to pass on, with a sviile. Ah that indeed
for a Russian was a most zvonderjul spectacle."
" We ought to be hurrying," said Miriam,
burning with helpless pity and indignation, " you
will be late for dinner."
" That is true. Shall you not also take dinner ?
Or if you prefer we can dine elsewhere. The air
is most pure and lovely. We are in some Park ? "
" Regent's Park" she said hastily, breathing in its
whole circumference, her eyes passing, through the
misty gloom, amongst daylit pictures of every part.
He had not known even where he was ; completely
foreign, a mind from an unknown world, obliviously
at her side. A headlong urgency possessed her ; the
coming back to London had not yet been ; perhaps
this time she would miss it ; already she was tired
with thought and speech. Incoherently improvising
an appointment she hurried along, her mind set
excitedly towards Tansley Street. There was
always some new thing waiting there when she
returned from an absence ; she could hear about it
and get over her greetings and out for an hour by
herself. She increased her pace until Mr. Shatov
panted for breath as he plunged along by her side.
The random remarks she made to cover her thoughts
hurtled about in the darkness, stabbing her with
vindictive unhelpful comments on her English
stiffness, embarrassing her gait and increasing her
angry fatigue. He responded in breathless shouts
as if they were already in the crowded streets.
They reached pavement, big houses loomed up
out of the mist, the gates were just ahead. We had
better rather at once take an omnibus, he shouted
as they emerged into the Euston Road and a blue
umbrella bus passed heavily by. She hurried for-
ward to catch it at the corner. That goes only to
Gower Street, thundered his following voice. She
was in amongst the crowd at the corner and as
again the bus lumbered off, inside it in the one
In the dimly lit little interior, moving along
through the backward flowing mist-screened street
lights, she dropped away from the circling worlds
of sound, and sat thoughtless gazing inward along
the bright kaleidoscopic vistas that came unfailing
and unchanged whenever she was moving, alone and
still, against the moving tide of London. When the
bus pulled up for a moment in a block, she searched
the gloom-girt forms within her view. The blue
light of the omnibus lamp lit up faces entangled in
visible thoughts, unwillingly suffering the temporary
suspension of activity, but in the far corner there
was one, alive and aware, gazing untrammelled at
visions like her own, making them true, the common
possession of all who would be still. Why were
these people only to be met in omnibuses and now
and again walking sightless along crowded streets ?
Perhaps in life they were always surrounded with
people with whom they did not dare to be still.
In speech that man would be a little defensive and
cynical. He had a study, where he went to get
away from everything, to work ; sometimes he
only pretended to work. He did not guess that
anyone outside books, certainly not any women
anywhere .... the bus rumbled on again ; by
the time it reached Gower Street she had passed
through thoughtless ages. The brown house and
her room in it called to her recreated. Once through
the greetings awaiting her, she would be free
upstairs amongst its populous lights and shadows ;
perhaps get in unseen and keep her visions untouched
through the evening. She would have an evening^s
washing and ironing. Mr. Shatov would not
expect her to-night.
Mrs. Bailey, hurrying through the hall to dinner,
came forward dropping bright quiet cries of welcome
from the edge of her fullest mood of excited
serenity, gently chiding Miriam's inbreaking ex-
pectant unpreparedness with her mysterious gradual
way of imparting bit by bit, so that it was impossible
to remember how and when she had begun, the new
thing ; Hngering silently at the end of her story to
disarm objections before she turned and flitted,
with a reassuring pleading backward smile, into her
newly crowded dining-room. A moment later
Miriam was in the drawing-room, swiftly consulting
the profile of a tweed-clad form bent busily writing
at the httle table under the gas. The man leapt
up and faced her with a swift ironic bow, strode
to the hearth-rug and began to speak. She re-
mained rooted in the middle of the room amplifying
her impression as his sentence went on, addressed
not to her, though he occasionally flung a cold
piercing glance her way, but to the whole room, in
a high, narrowly-rounded, fluting tone as if he were
speaking into a cornet. His head had gone up
above the level of the brighter Hght but it looked
even more greyish yellow than before, the sparse
hair, the eyes, the abruptly branching moustache
moving most remarkably with his fluting voice, the
pale tw^eed suit, all one even yellowish grey, and his
whole reared up, half soldierly form, at bay, as if
the room were full of jeering voices. His long
declamation contained all that Mrs. Bailey had
said and told her also that the lecture was about
Spanish literature. London was extraordinary.
A Frenchman, suddenly giving a lecture in English
on Spanish literature ; at the end of next week.
He wound up his tremendous sentence by telling
her that she was a secretary, and must excuse his
urgency, that he required the services of an English
secretary and would now, with her permission read
the first part of the lecture that she might tell him
whenever his intonation was at fault. That would
be immensely interesting and easy she thought, and
sat down on the music stool while he gathered up
his sheaf of papers and explained that foreign
intonation was the always neglected corner-stone
of the mastery of a foreign tongue.
In a moment he was back again on the hearth-
rug, beginning his lecture in a tone that was such an
exaggeration of his conversational voice, so high-
pitched and whistlingly rounded, so extremely
careful in enunciation that Miriam could hear
nothing but a loud thin hooting, full of the echoes
of the careful beginnings and endings of English
The first sentence was much longer than his
address to her and when it ended she did not know
how or where to begin. But he had taken a step
forward on the hearth-rug and begun another
sentence, on a higher pitch, with a touch of anger
in his voice. She checked a spasm of laughter and
sat tense, trying to ignore the caricature of his
style that gambolled in her mind. The sentence,
even longer than the first, ended interrogatively
with a fling of the head. It was tragic. She was
quick, quicker than anyone she knew, in catching
words or meanings through strange disguises. An
audience would be either furious or hysterical.
" You don't want to threaten your audience "
she said very quietly in a low tone, hoping by con-
trast to throw up his clamour.
" I dew not threaten," he said with suave patience,
" doubtless hew are misled. It is a great occasion ;
and a great subject ; of hwich I am master ; in
these circumstances a certain bravura is imperative.
Hewdu not propose that I should ^/^^^ for Cervantes
for example ? I will continue."
The sentences grew in length, each one climbing,
through a host of dependent clauses, small sharp
hammer blows of angry assertion, and increasing
in tone to a climax of defiance flung down from a
height that left no further possibility but a descent
to a level quiet deduction . . . and now dear
brethren but the succeeding sentence
came fresh to the attack, crouching, gathering up
the fury of its forerunner, leaping forward, dipping
through still longer dependent loops, accumulating,
swelling and expanding to even greater emphasis
and volume. She gave up all hope of gathering even
the gist of the meaning ; he seemed to be saying
one thing over and over again. You protest too
much don't protest ; don't gesticulate
the English don't gesticulate
but he used no gesticulations ; he was aware ; that
was a deliberate attempt to be English. But his
whole person was a gesture, expanding, vibrating.
" You mean by intonation only the intonation of
single words, not of the whole ? "
" Precisely. Correctness of accent and emphasis
is my aim. But you imply a criticism " he fluted,
unshaken by his storm.
*' Yes. First you must not pronounce each word
quite so carefully. It makes them echo into each
other. Then of course if you want to be quite
English you must be less emphatic."
" I must assume an air of indifference ? "
" An English audience will be more likely to
understand if you are slower and more quiet. You
ought to have gaps now and then."
" Intervals for yawning. Yew shall indicate
suitable moments. I see that I am fortunate to have
met-hew. I will take lessons, for this lecture, in the
true frigid English dignity."
The door opened, admitting Mr. Shatov.
" Mr. — a — Shatov ; will be so good ; as to grant
five minutes ; for the conclusion of this interview."
He walked forward bowing with each phrase, hiding
the intruder and bowing him out of the room. The
little dark figure reappeared punctually, and he
rose with a snap of the fingers. " The English " he
declaimed at large, " have an excellent phrase ;
hwich says, time is money. This phrase, good
though it is, might be improved. Time is let out
on usury. So, for the present, I shall leave yew."
He turned on the sweeping bow that accompanied
his last word and stepped quickly with a curious
stiff marching elegance down the room towards
Mr. Shatov as though he did not see him, avoiding
him at the last moment by a sharp curve. Outside
the closed door he rattled the handle as if to make
sure it was quite shut.
Miriam sought intently for a definition of what had
been in the room .... a strange echoing shadow
of some real thing . . . there was something
real . . . just behind the empty sound of him . . .
somewhere in the rolled up manuscript so remark-
ably in her hands, making a difference in the evening
brought in by Mr. Shatov. Hunger and fatigue
were assaihng her ; but the long rich day mounting
up to an increasing sense of incessant life crowding
upon her unsought, at her disposal, could not be
snapped by retirement for a solitary meal. He
walked quickly to the hearth-rug, bent forward and
spat into the empty grate.
" What is this fellow ? "
She broke through her frozen astonishment,
" I have just undertaken a perfectly frightful
thing " she said, quivering with disgust.
" I find him insufferable."
" The French sing their language. It is like a
recitative, the tone goes up and down and along
and up and down again with its own expression ;
the words have to fit the tune. They have no
single abrupt words and phrases, the whole thing
is a shape of tones. It's extraordinary. All somehow
arranged ; in a pattern ; dift'erent patterns for the
expression of the different emotions. In their
English it makes the expression swallow up the
words, a wind driving through them continuously
. . . haison."
" It is a musical tongue certainly."
" That's it ; music. But the individual is not
there ; because the tunes are all arranged for him
and he sings them, according to rule. The Academy.
The purity of the French language. I'm getting
" I find this Lahitte a most pretentious fellow."
" He is not in the least what I expected a French-
man to be like. I can't understand his being so
" What is it you have undertaken ? "
He was suddenly grave and impressed by the
idea of the lecture why would it be
such good practice for her to read and correct it ?
Her answer plunged him into thought from
which he branched forth with sudden eagerness
... a French translation of a Russian book
revealing marvellously the interior, the self life,
of a doctor, through his training and experience in
practice. It would be a revelation to English
readers and she should translate it ; in collaboration
with him ; if she would excuse the intimate
subjects it necessarily dealt with. He was off and
back again with the book and reading rapidly while
she still pondered his grave enthusiasm over her
recent undertaking. In comparison with this idea of
translating a book, it seemed nothing. But that was
only one of his wild notions. It would take years
of evenings of hard work. Meanwhile someone
else would do it. They would work at it together.
With Saturdays and Sundays it would not take so
long it would set her standing within the
foreign world she had touched at so many points
during the last few years, and that had become,
since the coming of Mr. Shatov, more and more
clearly a continuation of the first beginnings at
school alors un faible chuchotement se
fit entendre au premier a I'entree de ce
bassin, des arbres . . . . se fit entendre ....
alors un faible chuchotement se fit entendre . . .
all one word on one tone ... it must have been
an extract from some dull mysterious story with an
explanation or deliberately without an explanation ;
then a faint whispering was audible on the first
floor ; that was utterly different. It was the shape
and sound of the sentences, without the meaning
that was so wonderful — alors une faible parapluie
se fit entendre au premier — Jan would scream, but
it was just as wonderful there must be
some meaning in having so passionately loved the
little book without having known that it was
selections from French prose ; in getting to Germany
and finding there another world of beautiful
shape and sound, apart from people and thoughts
and things that happened . . . Durch die ganze
lange Nacht, bis tief in den Morgen hinein
it was opening again, drawing her in away from the
tuneless shapeless —
" Are you listening ? "
" Yes, but it hasn't begun."
" That is true. We can really omit all this
introduction and at once begin."
As the pages succeeded each other her hunger
and fatigue changed to a fever of anxious attention.
" Well ? Is not that a masterly analysis ? You
see. That should be translated for your Wimpole
" I don't know. We are not like that. It would
never occur to an English doctor to write for the
general public anything that could shake its con-
fidence in doctors. Foreigners are different. They
think nothing of revealing and discussing the
most awful things. It's pessimism. They like
" It is a serious mistake to regard enlightenment
" I don't believe in Continental luminaries."
" Your prejudices are at least frank."
" I had forgotten the author was Russian. That
idea of the rush of mixed subjects coming to the
medical student too quickly one after the other
for anything to be taken in, is awful, and perfectly
true. Hosts of subjects, hosts of different theories
about all of them ; no general ideas
Doctors have to specialise when they are boys and
they remain ignorant all their lives."
" This is not only for doctors. You have touched
the great problem of modern life. No man can,
to-day, see over the whole field of knowledge. The
great Leibnitz was the last to whom this was
To be ignorant always, knowing one must die in
ignorance. What was the use of going on ? Life
looked endless. Suddenly it would seem short.
" Wait till you're fifty and the years pass like
weeks." You would begin to see clearly all round
you the things you could never do. Never go to
Japan. Already it was beginning. No college.
No wander] ahre Translating books might
lead to wander] ahre.
" It's certainly a book that ought to be trans-
lated." At least there could be no more '' Eminent
men." There might always be someone at work
somewhere who would suddenly knock him down
like a ninepin.
" Well you shall see. I will read you a passage
from later, that you may judge whether you will
care. I must tell you it deals of intimate matters.
You must excuse."
It was not only that he thought she might
object. He also realised that the Enghsh reserves
between them were being swept away. It was
strange that a free Russian should have these
sensibihties. He read his extract through, bringing
it to a close in shaken tones, his features sensitively
Everyone ought to know It ought to
be shouted from the house-tops that a perfectly
ordinary case leaves the patient sans connaissance
et nageant dans le sang.
" It's very interesting," she said hurriedly, " but
in English it would be condemned as unsuitable
for general reading."
" I thought that possible."
" The papers would solemnly say that it deals
with subjects that are better veiled."
" Indeed it is remarkable. John Bull is indeed
the perfect ostrich."
" Oh those men who write like that don't want
them veiled from themselves,''''
" I will tell you more than that. The Paris
pornographia lives on its English patrons."
" Oh no ; I'm sure it doesn't."
" On the contrary I assure you this is a fact.
Any French bookseller will tell you. I see that
this distresses you. It is not perhaps in every case
so base as would appear. There is always even in
quite deliberate French obscenity a certain esprit.
These subjects lend themselves."
" Oh they don't care about the esprit. It's
because they think they are being improper. They
like to be what they call men of the world, in
possession of a fund of things they think can't
be talked about ; you can see their silly thoughts
by the way they glance at each other ; it's all about
nothing. What is obscenity ? And the other half
of them is ladies, who shout things by always care-
fully avoiding them ; or, if they are " racey,"
flatter men's topics by laughing in a pretended
hilarious embarrassment, hitting them as it were,
and rushing on to something else, very animated
by a becoming blush. I never realised that before.
But that's the secret. What is obscenity ? "
" You have touched a most interesting problem
" Besides Paris is full of Americans."
" It is the same proposition. They are the
cousins of the English."
" I think the American * man of the world ' is
much more objectionable. He is so horribly raw
that he can't help boasting openly, and the American
woman flatters him, openly. It's extraordinary.
I^mean the kind of heavy-featured fat middle-nged
American woman who doesn't smoke and thinks
that voting would be unseemly for women. It
used to make me simply ill with fury
Dr. Bunyan Hopkinson's brother came over for
July and August two years ago. He was appalling.
With a bright fair beard, and a most frightful
twang ; the worst I've ever heard. He used to
talk incessantly, as if the whole table were waiting
for his ideas. And knew everything, in the most
awful superficial newspaper way. They have
absolutely no souls at all. I never saw an American
soul. The Canadians have. The Americans, at
least the women, have reproachful ideals that they
all agree about. So that they are all like one person ;
all the same effect. But wasn't it screami?ig, Bunyan
Hopkinson's brother was called Bacchus. Yes.
Did you ever hear anything so screaming ? Isn't
that enough ? Doesn't it explain everything ?
He was a doctor too. He sat next to an elderly
woman who was always scolding and preaching.
She had an enormous American figure, and Guelph
eyelids and Guelph cheeks coming down below
her chin making great lengthways furrows on either
side of it. But when Dr. Bacchus began to talk
about Paris she would listen respectfully. He used
always to be offering to show other men round
Paris. There's no-one alive, he would say, can
show me anything in Parrus night-life I've not seen.
j4h, she would say, anyone can see you're a man of the
worlds doctor. It spoils the very idea of those
little cabarets and whatever awful haunts there
may be in Paris to think of Americans there, seeing
" They have certainly a most remarkable naivety."
" I've to-day seen your Queen. She's just a
vurry hoamely little old lady."
" What ? What is that ? "
" Then they were funny." She searched her
memory to make him go on giggling. It was
extraordinary too, to discover what impressions
she had gathered without knowing it, never con-
sidering or stating them to herself. He was getting
them. If she ever stated them again they would
be stale ; practised clever talk ; that was how talk
was done . . . saying things over and over again to
numbers of people, each time a little more brilliantly
and the speaker a little more dead behind it.
Nothing could be repeated.
" That was the same year. Mrs. Bailey had a
splendid August. Eighteen Americans. I used to
go down to meals just to be in the midst of the noise.
You never heard anything like it in your life. If
you listened without trying to distinguish anything
it was marvellous, in the bright sunshine at breakfast.
It sent you up and up, into the sky, the morning
stars singing together. No. I mean there was
something really wonderful about it. It reminded
me of the effect that almost comes when people
decide to have a Dutch concert. You know. All
singing different songs at the same time. It's
always spoilt. People begin it prepared not to
hear the whole effect. I did. I did not realise
there would be a wonderful whole. And always
just as the effect is beginning, two or three people
break down because they cannot hold their songs,
and some laugh because they are prepared only to
laugh, and the unmusical people put their fingers to
their ears, because they can never hear sound,
never anything but a tune. Oh it would be so
wonderful, if only it could be really held, everyone
singing for all they were worth."
" Have you heard that the Shah preferred of a
whole concert, only the tuning of the orchestra ? "
" I know. That's always supposed to be a joke.
But the tuning of an orchestra, if there is enough
of it at once, is wonderful. Why not both P It's
the appalling way people have of liking only one
thing. Liking ' good ' music and disapproving of
waltzes. The Germans don't."
" But when I thought of one of my sisters, I
used to want to die. If she had been there we
should both have yelled, without moving a muscle
of our faces. Harriett is perfect for that. We
learnt it in church. But when she used to twist all
the fingers of her gloves into points, under the
seat, and then show them to me suddenly, in the
Litany " . . . .
" What ? What Is this ? No. Tell me. You
were very happy with your sisters."
" That's all. She waggled them, suddenly."
" A happy childhood is perhaps the woj^fortunate
gift in life."
" You don't know you're happy."
" That is not the point. This early surrounding
lingers and effects all the life."
" It's not quite true that you don't know. Be-
cause you know when you are quite young how
desperately you love a place. The day we left our
first home I remember putting marbles in my
pocket in the nursery, not minding, only thinking
I should take them out again by the sea^ and down-
stairs in the garden I suddenly realised, the sun was
shining on to the porch and bees swinging about
amongst the roses, and I ran back and kissed the warm
yellow stone of the house, sobbing most bitterly and
knowing my life was at an end."
" But you were six years old. That is what is
important. You do not perhaps realise the extent
of the remaining of this free life of garden and
woods with you."
" I know it is there. I often dream I am there
and wake there, and for a few minutes I could draw
the house, the peaked shapes of it, and the porches
and french windows and the way the lawns went
oif into the mysterious parts of the garden ; and
I feel then as if going away were still to come, an
awful thing that had never happened. Of course
after the years in the small house by the sea, I
don't remember the house, only the sea and the
rocks, the house at Barnes grew in a way to be the
same, but I never got over the suddenness of the
end of the garden and always expected it to branch
out into distances, every time I ran down it. I
used to run up and down to make it more "
He was no longer following with such an intcntness
of interest. There ought to have been more about
those first years. Now, no one would ever know
what they had been
" But you know, although nothing the Americans
say is worth hearing, there is something wonderful
about the way they go on. The way they all talk
at once, nobody listening. It's because they all
know what they are going to say and everyone wants
to say it first. They used to talk in parties ; a
set of people at one part of the table all screaming
together towards a set at another part, and other
people screaming across them at another set. The
others began screaming back at once, endless
questions, and if two sets had seen the same thing
they all screamed together as soon as it was men-
tioned. I never heard one person talking alone ;
not in that August set. And there was one woman,
a clergyman's wife, with a little pretty oval face and
the most perfect muslin dresses which she did not
appreciate, who used to begin as soon as she came
in and go on right through the meal, filling up the
gaps in her talk with gasps and exclamations.
Whenever any place was mentioned she used to
turn and put her hand over her husband's mouth
till she had begun what she wanted to say, jumping
up and down in her chair."
" Is it possible P "
" I know now why they all have such high
piercing voices. It comes from talking in sets.
But I always used to wonder what went on behind ;
in their own minds."
" Do not wonder. There is no arriere-boutique
in these types. They are most simple."
" They don't Hke us. They think we are frigid ;
not cordial, is one of their phrases."
" That is a most superficial judgment. Stay !
I have a splendid idea. We will leave for the
present this large book. But why should you not
immediately translate a story of Andrayeff ? They
are quite short and most beautiful. You will find
them unlike anything you have read. I have them
here. We will at once read one."
" I must go out ; it will soon be too late."
" You have had no dinner ? Ach, that is
monstrous. Why did you not tell me ?
It is half eleven. There is yet time. We will go
to my dumme August in the East-end."
In her room, Miriam glanced at the magic pages,
hungrily gathering German phrases, and all the
way to Aldgate, sitting back exhausted in her
corner she clung to them, resting in a ' stube ' with
' Gebirge ' all round it in morning and evening
light. When they reached their destination she
had forgotten she was in London. But the station
was so remote and unknown to her that it scarcely
disturbed her detachment. The wide thoroughfare
into which they emerged was still and serene
within its darkness behind the spread veil of street
sounds, filled with the pure sweet air of adventure.
The restaurant across the road was a little square
of approaching golden light. It was completely
strange. There was a tang of coarse tobacco in
the air, but not the usual restaurant smell. There
were no marble-topped tables ; little square wooden-
legged tables, with table-covers of red and blue
chequered cotton ; pewter flagons, foreigners,
Germans, sturdy confident Germans sitting about.
It was Germany.
" Well ? Is it not perfectly dumme August ? "
whispered IVIr. Shatov as they took an empty
corner table, commanding the whole room. There
was a zvooden partition behind them, giving out
life. Her fatigue left her.
" Fiir mich ist es absolut als war ich in Hann-
" At least here you shall have an honest meal.
Kellner ! "
She did not want to eat ; only to sit and hear the
deep German voices all round her and take in,
without observation, kindly German forms.
" Simply you are too tired. We will have at
least some strong soup and Lager."
The familiar smooth savoury broth abolished
the years since she had left Germany. Once more
she was finding the genuine honest German quality
reflected in the completeness of their food ; all
of it even the bread, savoury and good through and
through, satisfying in a way no English food was
satisfying, making English food seem poor, ill-
combined, either heavy and dull, or too exciting.
She saw German kitchens, alles rein und sauber,
blank poliert, large bony low-browed angry-voiced
German servants in check dresses and blue aprons,
everlastingly responsibly at work.
And here was Lager, the Lager of the booming
musical German cafes. She was sure she would
not like it. He was taking for granted that she
was accustomed to beer, and would not know that
she was having a tremendous adventure. To him
it did not seem either shocking or vulgar. Pro-
tected by his unconsciousness she would get perhaps
further than ever before into the secret of Germany.
She took a small sip and shuddered. The foamy
surface was pleasant ; but the strange biting
bitterness behind it was like some sudden for-
midable personal attack.
" That is the first time I've tasted beer," she
said, " I don't hke it."
" You have not yet tasted it. You must swallow,
" It makes your throat sore. It's so bitter. I
always imagined beer was sweet."
" There is perhaps something a little acid in this
imported Lager ; but the bitterness is most good.
It is this biting quality that is a most excellent
aperatif. We will have also honey cakes."
The light, not too sweet, porous crisp mealiness
of the little cakes was German altogether. Mr.
Shatov was whispering busily. She feared he
would be heard. There was not much conversation
in the room ; large deep solid sentences rever-
berated through it with a sound of thoughtfulness,
as though the speakers were preoccupied, like
travellers, talking with their eyes turned inward
upon their destination. All of them appeared
serious and sober.
" Just as wc crossed the frontier one big fat
German roused up and said in an immense rolling
voice. * Hier kann man wenigstens vernunftiges
Bier haben ! ' "
" Ssh ! They will hear."
" What then ? They are here nearly all Jews."
" Jews ? But they are nearly all fair ! "
" There may be a few Germans. But many
Jews are fair. But you have not told me what you
think of this story."
" Oh I can see the man and hear his voice "
Nearly all the people in the room were dark. It
was the man sitting near, with the large fresh fair
German face who had made her imagine the room
was full of Germans. But there were no hooked
noses ; no one in the least like Shylock. What
were Jews ? How did he know the room was full
of them ? Why did the idea cast a chill on the
things she had brought in with her ? She drew the
little book from her pocket and took a long draught
of Lager. It was still bitter, but the bitterness
was only an astringent tang in the strange cool
lively frothy tide ; a tingling warmth ran through
her nerves, expanding to a golden glow that flowed
through the room and held her alight within itself,
an elastic impalpable bodiless mind. Mr. Shatov
was sitting far away at her side, in his eyes a serene
communion with his surroundings. It was not his
usual restaurant manner ; it was strange
pewter was right ; Lager was a bright tumult,
frothing and flowing easily over the smooth dull
Translating the phrases made them fall to pieces.
She tried several renderings of a single phrase ;
none of them would do ; the original phrase faded,
and together with it just beyond her reach, the
right English words. Scraps of conversation reached
her from all over the room ; eloquent words,
fashioned easily, without thought, a perfect flowing
of understanding, to and fro, without obstruction.
No heaven could be more marvellous. People
talked incessantly because in silence they were
ghosts. A single word sounded the secret of the
universe there is a dead level of in-
telligence throughout humanity. She listened in
wonder whilst she explained aloud that she had
learned most of her French by reading again and
again for the sake of the long even rhythm of its
sentences, one book ; that this was the only honest
way to acquire a language. It was like a sea, each
sentence a wave rolling in, rising till the light shone
through its glistening crest, dropping, to give way
to the next on-coming wave, the meaning gathering,
accumulating, coming nearer with each rising
falling rhythm ; each chapter a renewed tide,
monotonously repeating throughout the book in
every tone of light and shade the same burden,
the secret of everything in the world.
" I cannot appreciate these literary preciosities ;
but I am quite sure that you are wrong in confining
yourself to this one French book. This mystical
philosophy is enervant. There are many French
books you should read before this man. Balzac for
She wanted to explain that she used to read novels
but could not get interested in them after Emerson.
They showed only one side of people, the outside ;
if they showed them alone, it was only to explain
what they felt about other people. Then he would
say Levin, Levin. But she could not attend to all
this. What she had meant to say in the beginning,
she now explained, was that her German, neglected
so long, grew smaller and smaller, whilst, most
inconveniently, her reputation for knowing German
grew larger and larger. Mr. Wilson might have
"jThe Lager is doing you immensely much good."
Speech did something to things ; set them in a
mould that was apt to come up again; repeated, it
would be dead ; but perhaps one need never
repeat oneself ? To say the same things to different
people would give them a sort of fresh life ; but
there would be death in oneself as one spoke.
Perhaps the same thing could be said over and over
again, with other things with it, so that it had a
different shape, sang a different song and laughed
all round itself in amongst different things.
Intoxication ... a permanent intoxication in
and out amongst life, all the time with an in-
creasing store of good ideas about things ; in time,
about everything. A slight intoxication began it,
niaking it possible to look at things from a distance,
in separate wholes and make discoveries about
them. It was being somewhere else, and suddenly
looking up, out of completion, at distant things,
that brought their meanings and the right words.
" But you must at once finish. They are closing.
It is now midnight."
It did not matter. Nothing was at an end.
Nothing would ever come to an end again
She passed, talking emphatically, out into the wide
dimly-lit sky-filled east-end street, and walked
unconscious of fatigue, carrying Mr. Shatov along
at his swiftest plunge, mile after mile, in a straight
line westward along the opening avenue of her
new permanent freedom from occasions. From
detail to detail, snatched swiftly by the slenderest
thread of coherence, she passed in easy emphatic
talk, covering the bright endless prospect of her
contemplation, her voice alive, thrilling with joyful
gratitude, quivering now and again as it moved,
possessed and controlled by the first faint dawning
apprehension of some universal password, from one
bright tumultuously branching thing to another,
with a gratitude that poured itself out within her
in a rain of tears. Mr. Shatov followed her swift
migrations with solid responsive animation ; he
seemed for the first time to find no single thing to
object to or correct ; even restatement was absent,
and presently he began to sing
" It is a Russian song with words of Poushkin
and music of Rubinstein. Ah but it requires
Chaliapin. A most profound bass. There is
nothing in singing so profoundly moving as pure
basso ; you should hear him. He stands alone in
The thronging golden multitudes moved to the
tones of this great Russian voice, the deepest in
the world, singing out across Europe from beyond
Germany. With faltering steps, just begun, whilst
now and for ever she passionately brooded on
distant things, she was one of this elect shining
army " wandering amongst the mountains,
the highest notes if they leap up pure and free, in
soprano, touch the sky."
" That is true. But in concerts, the strength
and most profound moving quality come from the
bass. Ah you should hear a Russian male choir.
There is not in Europe such strength and flexibility
and most particularly such marvel of unanimity,
making one single movement of phrase in all these
many voices together. There is singing in the
great Russian churches, all colourful and with
a splendour of ornate decoration, singing that the
most infidel could not hear unmoved."
The Russian voice was melancholy poetry in
itself ; somewhere within the shapely rough strength
of the words, was a pleading tender melancholy.
The Bloomsbury Squares were changed. It was
like seeing them for the first time ; before they
had taken hold ; and for the last time, for their
spell was turning into memory. Already they were
clearly seen backgrounds of which in the cold
winter moonlight she could, as her feet, set in a
pathway that spread throughout the world, swiftly
measured them, coolly observe the varying pro-
portions and character. Offence was removed
from the tones of visitors who had in the past, in
her dumb outraged presence, taken lightly upon
their lips the sacred names. Within them the
echo of her song mingled with the silent echoes of
the footfalls and voices of these enchanted busy
IT was not only that it was her own perhaps
altogether ignorant and lazy and selfish way of
reading everything so that she grasped only the
sound and the character of the words and the
arrangement of the sentences, and only sometimes
a long time afterwards, and with once read books
never, anything, except in books on philosophy, of
the author's meaning .... but always the author ;
in the first few lines ; and after that, wanting to
change him and break up his shape or going about
for days thinking everything in his shape
It was that there was nothing there. If there
had been anything, reading so attentively, such an
odd subject as Spanish literature, she would have
gathered some sort of vague impression. But in
all the close pages of cramped cruel pointed hand-
writing she had gleaned nothing at all. Not a
single fact or idea ; only Mr. Lahitte ; a voice
like an empty balloon The lecture was a
fraud. He was. How far did he know this ?
Thinking of the audience, those few who could
learn quickly enough to follow his voice, waiting
and waiting for something but strings of super-
latives, the same ones again and again, until the
large hall became a prison and the defiant yellow-
grey form a tormenter, and their impatience and
restlessness turned to hatred and despair, she pitied
him. Perhaps he had not read Spanish hterature.
But he must have consulted numbers of books about
it, and that was much more than most people did.
But what could she do ? She glanced at her little
page of notes. . . . Break up sentences. Use
participles instead of which. Vary adjectives.
Have gaps and pauses here and there. Sometimes
begin further off. What is picaresque ? They
had been written enthusiastically, seeming like
inspirations, in the first pages, before she had
discovered the whole of the nothingness. Now
they were only alterations that were not worth
making ; helping an imposition and being paid
Stopford Brooke . . . lecturing on Browning
. . . blissful moonface with a fringe of white hair,
talking and talking, like song and prayer and politics,
the past and the present showing together. Browning
at the centre of life and outside it all over the
world, and seeing forward to the future. Perfect
quotations, short and long, and the end with the
long description of Pompilia rising and
spreading and ceasing, not ending . . . standing
out alive in the midst of a world still shaped by
the same truths going on and on. " A marvellous
piece of analysis." He had been waiting to say
that to the other young man.
Introduce their philosophies of life, if any, she
wrote ; introduce quotations. But there was no
time ; quotations would have to be translated.
Nothing could be done. The disaster was com-
pletely arranged. There was no responsibility.
She gathered the accepted pages neatly together
and began pencilling in improvements.
The pencilled sentences made a
pleasant wandering decoration. The earlier ones
were forgotten and unfamiliar Re-read now, they
surprised her. How had she thought of them ?
She had not thought of them. She had been
closely following something, and they had come,
quietly, in the midst of engrossment ; but they
were like a photograph, funny in their absurd
likeness, set there side by side with the photograph
of Mr. Lahitte. They were alive, gravely, after
the manner of her graver self. It was a curious
marvel, a revelation irrevocably put down, reflecting
a certain sort of character more oneself
than anything that could be done socially, together
with others, and yet not herself at all, but some-
thing mysterious, drawn uncalculatingly from some
fund of common consent, part of a separate im-
personal life she had now unconsciously confessed
herself as sharing. She remained bent motionless
in the attitude of writing, to discover the quality
of her strange state. The morning was raw with
dense fog ; at her Wimpole Street ledgers she would
by this time have been cramped with cold ; but
she felt warm and tingling with life as if she had
been dancing, or for a long while in happy social
contact ; yet so differently ; deeply and serenely
alive and without the blank anxious looking for the
continuance of social excitement. This something
would continue, it was in herself, independently.
It was as if there were someone with her in the
room, peopling her solitude and bringing close
around her all her past solitudes, as if it were their
secret. They greeted her ; justified. Never
again, so long as she could sit at work and lose
herself to awake with the season forgotten and all
the circumstances of her life coming back fresh
leaping, as if narrated from the fascinating life of
someone else, would they puzzle or reproach her.
She drew her first page of general suggestions
written so long ago that they already seemed to
belong to some younger self, and copied them in
ink. The sound of the pen shattered the silence
like sudden speech. She listened entranced. The
little strange sound was the living voice of the
brooding presence. She copied each phrase in a
shape that set them like a poem in the middle of
the page, with even spaces between a wide uniform
margin ; not quite in the middle ; the lower
margin was wider than the upper ; the poem
wanted another line. She turned to the manuscript
listening intently to the voice of Mr. Lahitte
pouring forth his sentences, and with a joyous rush
penetrated the secret of its style. It was artificial.
There was the last line of the poem summing up
all the rest. Avoid, she wrote, searching ; some
word was coming ; it was in her mind, muffled,
almost clear ; avoid — it flashed through and away,
just missed. She recalled sentences that had filled
her with hopeless fury, examining them curiously,
without anger. Avoid ornate alias. So that was
it ! Just those few minutes glancing through the
pages standing by the table while the patient
talked about her jolly, noisy, healthy, thoroughly
zvicked little kid, and now remembering every point
he had made extraordinary. But this was
Hfe ! These strange unconsciously noticed things,
Hving on in one, coming together at the right
moment, part of a reality.
Rising from the table she found her room strange,
the new room she had entered on the day of her
arrival. She remembered drawing the cover from
the table by the window and finding the ink-stains.
There they were in the warm bright circle of mid-
morning lamplight, showing between the scattered
papers. The years that had passed were a single
short interval leading to the restoration of that first
moment. Everything they contained centred there ;
her passage through them, the desperate graspings
and droppings, had been a coming back. Nothing
would matter now that the paper-scattered lamp-
lit circle was established as the centre of life. Every-
thing would be an everlastingly various joyful
coming back. Held up by this secret place, drawing
her energy from it, any sort of life would do that
left this room and its little table free and untouched.
THE spell of the ink-stained table had survived
the night. Moving about, preparing for
today, she turned continually towards the v^indow-
space, as to an actual presence, and was answered
by the rising within her of a tide of serenity, driving
her forward in a stupor of confidence, impervious
to strain and pain. It was as if she had entered a
companionship that now spread like a shield between
her and the life she had so far dealt with unaided . . .
The week of working days, standing between
her and next Sunday's opportunity, was a small
space that would pass in a dream ; the scattered
variously-developing interests of life outside Wim-
pole Street changed, under her eyes, from separate
bewildering competitively attractive scraps of life,
to pleasantly related resources, permitted distrac-
tions from an engrossment so secure that she
could, without fear of loss, move away and for-
She felt eager to jest. Ranged with her friends
she saw their view of her own perpetually halting
scrupulousness and marvelled at their patient
loyalty. She shared the exasperated intolerance
of people who disliked her. ... It could be dis-
armed .... by fresh, surprising handling. . . .
Because, she asked herself scornfully as she opened
the door to go downstairs, she had corrected Mr.
Lahitte's unspeakable lecture ? No. Sitting over
there, forgetting, she had let go and found
something . . . and waking again had seen distant
things in their right proportions. But leaving go,
not going through life clenched, would mean losing
oneself, passing through, not driving in, ceasing to
affect and be affected. But the forgetfulness was
itself a more real life, if it made life disappear and
then show only as a manageable space and at last
only as an indifferent distance a game to
be played, or even not played It meant
putting life and people second ; only entering life
to come back again, always. This new joy of going
into life, the new beauty, on everything, was the
certainty of coming back. . . .
She was forgetting something important to the
day ; the little volume of stories for her coat
pocket. Anxiety at her probable lateness tried to
invade her as she made her hurried search. She
beat it back and departed indifferently, shutting
the door of a seedy room in a cheap boarding-house,
neither hers nor another's, a lodger's passing abode,
but holding a little table that was herself, alive with
her life, and whose image sprang, set for the day,
centrally into the background of her thoughts as she
ran wondering if there were time for breakfast,
down to the dining-room. St. Pancras clock struck
nine as she poured out her tea. Mr. Shatov
followed up his greeting with an immediate plunge
into unfamiliar speech which she realized, in the
midst of her wonderment over Mr. Lahitte's
presence at early breakfast, was addressed to herself.
She responded absently, standing at the tea-tray
with her toast.
" You do not take your fish ? Ah, it is a pity. It
is true it has stood since half-nine."
" Asseyez-vous, mademoiselle. I find ; the break-
fast hour ; charming. At this hour one always is, or
should be ; gay."
" Mps ; if there is time ; yes, Sunday breakfast."
" Still you are gay. That is good. We will not
allow philosophy ; to darken ; these most happy
" There are certain limits to cheerfulness,"
bellowed Mr. Shatov. They had had some mighty
collision. She glanced round.
" None ; within the purview of my modest
intelligence ; none. Always would I rather be ; a
cheerful coal-heaver ; than a philosopher who is
learned, dull, and more depressing than the bise
That was meant for Mr. Shatov ! The pale
sensitive features were quivering in control ....
her fury changed to joy as she leapt between them
murmuring reflectively out across the table that
she agreed, but had met many depressing coal-
heavers and knew nothing about philosophers dull
or otherwise. In the ensuing comfortable dead
silence she wandered away marvelling at her elo-
quence Cats said that sort of thing, with
disarming smiles. Was that what was called
sarcasm ? How fearfully funny. She had been
sarcastic. To a Frenchman. Perhaps she had
learned it from him. Mr. Shatov overtook her as
she was getting on to a 'bus at the corner.
" You do not go walkingly ? " he bellowed from
the pavement. Poor little man ; left there with his
day and his loneliness till six o'clock.
" All right," she said, jumping off, " we'll walk.
I'll be late. I don't mind."
They swept quickly along, looking ahead in silence.
Presently he began to sing. Miriam dropped her
eyes to the pavement, listening. How unconsci-
ously wise he was. How awful it would have been
if she had gone on the omnibus. Here he was safe,
healing and forgetting. There zvas some truth in the
Frenchman's judgment. It wasn't that he was a
dull philosopher. Lahitte was utterly incapable of
measuring his big sunlit mind ; but there was
something, in his manner, or bearing, something
that many people would not like, an absence of
gaiety ; it was true, the Frenchman's quick eye had
fastened on it. Who wanted gaiety ? There was a
deep joyfulness in his booming song that was more
than gaiety. His rich dark vitality challenged the
English air as he plunged along, beard first, without
thoughts, his eyebrows raised in the effort of his
eager singing. He was quite unaware that there
was no room for singing more than below one's
breath, however quickly one walked, in the Euston
Road in the morning.
She disposed herself to walk unconcernedly past
the row of lounging overalled figures. Sullen
hostile staring would not satisfy them this morning.
The song would rouse them to some open demon-
stration. They were endless ; muttering motion-
lessly to each other in their immovable lounging.
Surely he must feel them. " Go 'ome " she heard,
away behind. ..." Blooming foreigner ; " close
by, the tall lean swarthy fellow, with the handsome
grubby face. That he must have heard. She
fancied his song recoiled, and wheeled sharply back,
confronting the speaker, who has just spat into the
middle of the pavement.
" Yes," she said, " he is a foreigner, and he is my
friend. What do you mean P " The man's gazing
face was broken up into embarrassed awkward
youth. Mr. Shatov was safely ahead. She waited,
her eyes on the black-rimmed expressionless blue of
the eyes staring from above a rising flush. In a
moment she would say, it is abominable and simply
disgraceful, and sweep away and never come up this
side of the road again. A little man was speaking at
her side, his cap in his hand. They were all moving
and staring. " Excuse me miss," he began again in
a quiet, thick, hurrying voice, as she turned to him.
" Miss, we know the sight of you going up and down.
Miss he ain't good enough forya."
" Oh " said Miriam, the sky falling about her.
She lingered a moment speechless, looking at no one,
sweeping over them a general disclaiming smile,
hoping she told them how mistaken they all were
and how nice she thought them, she hurried away
to meet Mr. Shatov waiting a few yards off. The
darlings. In all these years of invisible going up
and down. . .
" Well ? " he laughed, " what is this ? "
" British workmen. I've been lecturing them."
" On what ? "
" In general. Telling them what I think."
" Excellent. You will yet be a socialist." They
walked on, to the sound of his resumed singing.
Presently the turning into Wimpole Street was in
sight. His singing must end. Dipping at a venture
she stumbled upon material for his arrest.
" It it nay-cessary ; deere bruthren ; " she intoned
dismally in a clear interval " to obtain ; the
m.Ahstery ; o-ver-the Vile ; bhuddy."
" What ? What ? " he gurgled delightedly,
slackening his pace. " Please say this once more."
Summoning the forgotten figure, straining out
over the edge of the pulpit she saw that there was
more than the shape and sound of his abruptly
ending whine. She saw the incident from Mr.
Shatov's point of view and stood still to laugh his
laugh ; but it was not her kind of joke.
" It was in a University church, presided over by
a man they all say has a European reputation ; it
was in Lent ; this other man was a visitor, for Lent.
That was the beginning of his sermon. He began at
once, with a yell, flinging half out of the pulpit, the
ugliest person I have ever seen."
" Hoh," shouted Mr. Shatov from the midst of
immense gusts of laughter, " that is a most supreme
instance of unconscious ironic commentary. But
really, please you shall say this to me once more."
If she said, you know he was quite sincere, the
story would be spoiled. This was the kind of story
popular people told. To be amusing must mean
always to be not quite truthful. But the sound.
She was longing to hear it again. Turning to face
the way they had come she gave herself up to
howling the exhortation down the empty park-
" It is a chef d'oeuvre," he sighed.
He ought not to be here she irritably told her-
self, emerging as they turned and took the few
steps to her street, tired and scattered and hope-
lessly late, into the forgotten chill of her day. It
was all very well for him with his freedom and
leisure to begin the first thing in the morning with
things that belonged to the end of the day. . . .
She took swift distracted leave of him at the corner
and hurried along the length of the few houses to
her destination. Turning remorsefully at the door-
step to smile her farewell, she saw the hurrying
form of Mr. Hancock crossing the road with grave
appraising glance upon the strange figure bowing
towards her bareheaded in the wind from the top
of the street. He had seen her loitering, standing
still, had heard her howls. Mercifully the door
opened behind her, and she fled within .... the
corner of the very street that made him, more than
any other street, look foreign, and, in the distance,
For days she read the first two stories in the little
book, carrying it about with her, uneasy amongst
her letters and ledgers unless it were in sight. The
project of translation vanished in an entranced
consideration at close quarters of some strange
quality coming each time from the printed page.
She could not seize or name it. Both stories were
sad, with an unmitigated relentless sadness, casting
a shadow over the spectacle of life. But some spell
in their weaving, something abrupt and strangely
alive, remaining alive, in the text, made a beauty
that outlived the sadness. They were beautiful.
English people would not think so. They would
only see tragedy of a kind that did not occur in the
society they knew. They would consider Andrayeff a
morbid foreigner, and a liking for the stories an
unhealthy pose. Very well. It was an unhealthy
pose. The strange beauty in the well known
sentences that yet were every time fresh and
surprising, was an unshareable secret. Meanwhile
the presence of the little book exorcised the every-
day sense of the winding off of days in an elaborate
unchanging circle of toil.
To Michael Shatov she poured out incoherent
enthusiasm. Translate, translate, he cried ; and
when she assured him that no one would want
to read, he said, each time, no matter ; this work
will be good for you. But when at last suddenly in
the middle of a busy morning, she began turning
into rounded English words the thorny German
text, she eluded his enquiries and hid the book and
all signs of her work even from herself. Writing she
forgot, and did not see the pages. The moment
she saw them, there was a sort of half-shame in their
exposure, even to the light of day. And always in
transcribing them a sense of guilt. Not, she was
sure, a conviction of mis-spending her employer's
time. Had not they agreed in response to her
graceless demands in the course of that first realisa-
tion of the undevcloping nature of her employ-
ments, that she should use chance intervals of
leisure on work of her own ? But even abusing this
privilege, writing sudden long absorbing letters in
the best part of the morning with urgent business
waiting all round her, had brought no feeling of
guilt : only a bright enclosing sense of dissipation ;
a sort of spreading, to be justified hy the shortness
of her leisure, of its wild free quality over a part of
the too-long day. It was in some way from the
work itself that this strange gnawing accusation
came, and as strangely, each time she had fairly
begun, there came, driving out the sense of guilt, an
overwhelming urgency ; as if she were running
Presently everything in her life existed only for
the sake of the increasing bunch of pencilled half-
sheets distributed between the leaves of her roomy
blotter. She thanked her circumstances, into
whose shape this secret adventure had stolen
unobserved and sunk, leaving the surface unchanged,
and finding, ready for its sustaining, an energy her
daily work had never tapped, from the depth of
her heart. In the evenings she put away the
thought of her pages lest she could find herself
speaking of them to Mr. Shatov.
But they would arrive suddenly in her mind,
thrilling her into animation, lighting up some
remote part of her consciousness from which would
come pell-mell, emphatic and incoherently eloquent,
statements to which she listened eagerly, Mr.
Shatov, too, reduced to a strangely silenced listener,
and dropping presently off along some single side
issue, she would be driven back by the sheer pain of
the effort of contraction, and would impatiently
bring the sitting to an end and seek solitude. It
was as if she were confronted by some deeper
convinced self who did, unknown to her, take sides
on things, both sides, with equal emphasis, impar-
tially, but with a passion that left her in an entrance-
ment of longing to discover the secret of its nature.
For the rest of the evening this strange self seemed
to hover about her, holding her in a serenity
undisturbed by reflection.
Sometimes the memory of her work would leap
out when a conversation was flagging, and lift her
as she sat inert, to a distance whence the dulled
expiring thread showed suddenly glowing, looping
forward into an endless bright pattern interminably
animated by the changing lights of fresh inflowing
thoughts. During the engrossing incidents of her
day's work she forgot them completely, but in every
interval they were there ; or not there ; she had
dreamed them. . . .
With each fresh attack on the text, the sense of
guilt grew stronger ; falling upon her the moment,
having read the page of German, she set to work to
apply the discoveries she had made. It was as if
these discoveries were the winning, through some
inborn trick of intelligence not her own by right of
any process of application or of discipline, of an
unfair advantage. She sought within her for a
memory that might explain the acquisition of the
right of escape into this life within, outside,
securely away from, the life of everyday. The
school memories that revived in her dealings with
her sentences were the best, the most secret and the
happiest, the strands where the struggle to acquire
had been all a painless interested adventuring. The
use of this strange faculty, so swift in discovery, so
relentless in criticism, giving birth, as one by one the
motley of truths urging its blind movements, came
recognizably into view, to such a fascinating game
of acceptance and fresh trial, produced in the long
run when the full balance was struck, an overweight
of joy bought without price.
There was no longer unalleviated pain in the first
attack on a fresh stretch of the text. The know-
ledge that it could by three stages, laborious but
unchanging and certain in their operation, reach a
life of its own, the same in its whole effect, and yet
in each detail so different to the original, radiated
joy through the whole slow process. It was such a
glad adventure, to get down on the page with a blunt
stump of pencil in quivering swift thrilled fingers
the whole unwieldy literal presentation, to con-
template, plunging thus roughshod from language,
to language, the strange lights shed in turn upon each,
the revelation of mutually enclosed inexpandible
meanings, insoluble antagonisms of thought and
experience, flowing upon the surface of a stream
where both were one ; to see, through the shapeless
mass the approaching miracle of shape and meaning.
The vast entertainment of this first headlong
ramble down the page left an enlivenment with
which to face the dark length of the second
journey, its separate single efforts of concentration,
the recurring conviction of the insuperability of
barriers, the increasing list of discarded attempts,
the intervals of hours of interruption, teased by
problems that dissolved into meaninglessness, and
emerged more than ever densely obstructive, the
sudden almost ironically cheerful simultaneous
arrival of several passable solutions ; the tempta-
tion to use them, driven off by the wretchedness
accompanying the experiment of placing them even
in imagination upon the page, and at last the snap
of relinquishment, the plunge down into oblivion
of everything but the object of contemplation,
perhaps ill-sustained and fruitful only of a fury of
irritated exhaustion, postponing further effort, or
through the entertaining distraction of a sudden
irrelevant play of light, turned to an outbranching
series of mental escapades, leading, on emergence, to
a hurried scribbling, on fresh pages, of statements
which proved when read later with clues and links
forgotten, unintelligible ; but leading always,
whether directly in one swift movement of seizure,
or only at the end of protracted divings, to the
return, with the shining fragment, whose safe
placing within the text made the pages, gathered
up in an energy flowing forward transformingly
through the interval, towards the next opportunity
of attack, electric within her hands.
The serene third passage, the original banished in
the comforting certainty that the whole of it was
represented, the freedom to handle until the jagged
parts were wrought into a pliable whole, relieved
the pressure of the haunting sense of trespass, and
when all was complete it vanished into peace and a
strange unimpatient curiosity and interest. She
read from an immense distance. The story was
turned away from her towards people who were
waiting to read and share what she felt as she read.
It was no longer even partly hers ; yet the thing
that held it together in its English dress was herself,
it had her expression, as a portrait would have, so
that by no one in her sight or within range of any
chance meeting with herself might it ever be con-
templated. And for herself it was changed.
Coming between her and the immediate grasp of
the text were stirring memories ; the history of her
labour was written between the lines ; and strangely,
moving within the whole, was the record of the
months since Christmas. On every page a day or
group of days. It was a diary. . . . Within it were
incidents that for a while had dimmed the whole
fabric to indifference. And passages stood out,
recalling, together with the memory of overcoming
their difficulty, the dissolution of annoyances, the
surprised arrival on the far side of overwhelming
angers. . . .
The second story lay untouched, wrapt in its
magic. Contemplating the way, with its difference,
it enhanced the first and was enhanced by it, she
longed to see the two side by side and found, while
she hesitated before the slow scattering process of
translation, a third that set her headlong at work
towards the perfect finished group. There was no
weariness in this second stretch of labour. Behind
her lay the first story, a rampart, of achievement and
promise, and ahead, calling her on, the one that
was yet to be attempted, difficult and strange, a
little thread of story upon a background of dark
thoughts, like a voice heard through a storm. Even
the heaviest parts of the afternoon could be used,
in an engrossed forgetfulness of time and place.
Time pressed. The year was widening and lifting
too rapidly towards the heights of June when
everything but the green world, fresh gleaming in
parks and squares through the London swelter,
sweeping with the tones of spring and summer
mingled amongst the changing trees, towards
September, would fade from her grasp and dis-
" \1 7ELL. What did he say ? "
V V " Oh, nothing ; he made a great oppor-
tunity. He didn't like the stories."
" Remarkable ! "
" I did it all the wrong way. When I accepted
their invitation I wrote that I was bringing down
some translations of the loveliest short stories I had
ever read." I was suddenly proud, in Lyons, of re-
membering " short stories " and excited about
having something written to show him at last. The
sentence felt like an entry into their set.
" If he did not agree with this I pity him."
" I don't know how it would have been if I had
said nothing at all." He might have said look here
this is good stuff. You must do something with
" I tell you again this man is superficial."
" He said the sentiment was gross and that they
were feeble in construction." Waiting, in the win-
dow seat, with the large fresh light from the sea
pouring in from behind across the soft clear buffs
and greens of the room ; weaving for Alma, with
the wonder of keeping him arrested, alone in his
study, with his eyes on her written sentences, a view
of the London life as eventful, enviable leisure ; the
door opening at last, the swift compact entry of the
little figure with the sheaf of manuscript, the sudden
Hfting jubilance of the light ; the eager yielding to
the temptation to enhance the achievement by a
disclaiming explanation of the difficult circum-
stances, the silencing minatory finger — wait, wait,
you're taking it the wrong way — and at last the
high-pitched, colourless, thinking voice in brief com-
prehensive judgment ; the shattering of the bright
scene, the end of the triumphant visit, with a day
still to pass, going about branded as an admirer of
" That is no opiniofi. It is simply a literary fines-
sing. I will tell you more. This judgment indicates
an immense blindness. There is in Andrayeff a
directness and simplicity of feeling towards life that
is entirely lacking in this man."
" Mm. Perhaps the Russians are more simple ;
less "... civilised.
" Simplicity and directness of feeling does not
necessarily indicate a less highly organised psycho-
" I know what he meant. Andrayeff does try de-
liberately to work on your feelings. I felt that when
I was writing. But the pathos of those little boys
and the man with the Chinese mask is his subject.
What he does is artistic exaggeration. That is Art.
Light and shade ; " a ' masterly study '
of a little boy . . . . ?
" Very well then. What is the matter ? "
" No, but I'm just thinking the whole trouble is
that life is not pathetic. People don't feel pathetic ;
or never altogether pathetic. There is something
else ; that's the worst of novels, something that has
to be left out. Tragedy ; curtain. But there never
is a curtain and even if there were, the astounding
thing is that there is anything to let down a curtain
on ; so astomidhig that you can't feel really, com-
pletely, things like " happiness " or " tragedy " ;
they are both the same, a half-statement. Every-
body is the same really, inside, under all circum-
stances. There's a dead-level of astounding ....
" I cannot follow you in all this. But you may
not thus lightly deny tragedy."
" He also said that the translation was as good as
it could be." You've brought it off. That's
the way a translation ought to be done. It's slick
and clean and extraordinarily well Englished
" Well ? Well ? Are you not satisfied ? "
" Then he said in a contemptuous sort of way,
' you could make from two to three hundred a year
at this sort of thing.' "
" But that is most excellent. You should most
certainly try this."
" I don't believe it. He says that kind of
" He ought to know."
" I don't know. He said in a large easy way you'd
get seven or eight guineas apiece for these things,
and then do 'em in a book."
" Well ? "
" Everybody would be doing it if it were so
" You are really remarkable. A good translation
is most rare ; and particularly a good English trans-
lation. You have seen these Tolstoys. I have not
met in German or French anything so vile. It is a
whole base trade."
" The public does not know. And if these things
sell why should publishers pay for good translations ?
It's like machine and hand-made embroidery. It
does not pay to do good work. I've often heard
translations are badly paid and I can quite under-
stand it. It could be done in a factory at an im-
" You are right. I have known a group of poor
Russian students translate a whole book in a single
night. But you will not find cynical vulgarisation
of literature anywhere but in England and America.
It is indeed remarkable to the foreigner the way in
this country the profession of letters has become a
speculation. Never before I came here did I meet
this idea of writing for a living, in this naive wide-
spread form. There is something very bad in it."
Miriam surveyed the green vista, thinking guiltily of
her envy and admiration of the many young men
she had met at the Wilsons' who were mysteriously
" writing " or " going to write," of her surprise
and disappointment in meeting here and there
things they had written don't. Miss
Henderson .... donH take up .... a journal-
istic career on the strength of being able to write ;
as badly as Jenkins. Editors — poor dears — are
beleaguered^ by aspiring relatives. She thought out
now, untrammelled by the distraction of listening
to the way he formed his sentences, the meaning of
these last words it spread a chill over the
wide stretch of sunlit grass ; in the very moments
that were passing, the writing world was going
actively on, the clever people who had ideas and
style and those others, determined, besieging, gradu-
ally making themselves into writers, indistinguish-
able by most readers, from the others, sharing, even
during their dreadful beginnings, in the social dis-
tinctions and privileges of " writers," and all of
them, the clever ones and the others, quite un-
troubled by any sense of guilt, and making, when
they were all together, a social atmosphere that was,
in spite of its scepticism, and its scorn of everyday
life, easier to breathe than any other. But being
burdened with a hesitating sense of guilt, unable to
be really interested in the things clever people wrote
about, being beguiled by gross sentimentality be-
cause of its foreign dress and the fascination of
transforming it, meant belonging outside the world
of clever writers, tried in their balance and found
wanting ; and cut off from the world of innocent
unconscious determined aspirants by a mysterious
It was mean to sit waiting for life to throw up
things that would distract one for a while from the
sense of emptiness. Sitting moving about from
place to place, in the dress of the period. Being
nowhere, one had no right even to the dress of the
period. In the bottom of the lake .... hidden,
and forgotten. Round the far-off lake were feathery
green trees, not minding. She sat imagining their
trunks, filmed over with the murk of London
winters, but all the more beautiful now, standing
out black amongst the clouds of green. There were
trees in the distance ahead, trees, forgotten. She
wasjiere to look at them. It was urgent, important.
All this long time and she had never once looked.
She lifted her eyes cautiously, without moving, to
take in the wide belt beyond the stretch of grass.
It was perfect. Full spring complete, prepared and
set there, ungrudgingly, demanding nothing but
love ; embanked between the sky and the grass, a
dense perfect shape of various pure colour, an effect,
that would pass ; but she had seen it. The sharp
angle of its edge stood out against a farther, far-off
belt of misty green, with here and there a dark
maroon blot of copper beech.
" Whatever happens, as long as one lives, there is
" Do not be too sure of this."
" Of course, if the world suddenly came to an
" This appreciation of spring is merely a question
" You can't be sure."
" On the contrary. Do you imagine for instance
that this old woman on the next seat feels the spring
as you do ? "
Miriam rose unable to look ; wishing she had
come alone ; or had not spoken. The green vistas
moved all about her, dazzling under the height of
sky. " I'm perfectly sure I shall always feel the
spring ; perhaps more and more." She escaped into
irrelevant speech, hurrying along so that he should
hear incompletely until she had firm hold of some
far-oif topic ; dreading the sound of his voice.
The flower-beds were in sight, gleaming in the
gaps between the tree trunks along the broad walk
.... ragged children were shouting and chasing
each other round the fountain. " I must always
here think " he said as they passed through the
wicket gate " of this man who preaches for the con-
version of infidels, Jews, Christians, and other un-
She hurried on preparing to face the rows of
Saturday afternoon people on the chairs and seats
along the avenue, their suspicious English eyes on
her scrappy, dowdy, out-of-date English self and
her extraordinary looking foreigner. Her spirits
lifted. But they must be walking quickly and talk-
ing. The staring self-revealing faces must see that
it was a privilege to have converse with anyone so
utterly strange and far away from their English
" I'm not interested in him " she said as they got
into their stride.
" Why not ? "
" I don't know why. I can't fix my thoughts on
him ; or any of these people who yell at crowds."
Not quite that ; but it made a sentence and fitted
with their walk.
" It is perhaps that you are too individualistic,"
panted Mr. Shatov. There was no opening in this
for an appearance of easy conversation ; the words
were leaping and barking round her like dogs.
But she turned swiftly leading the way down a
winding side path and demanding angrily as soon as
they were alone how it was possible to be too indi-
" I agree to a certain extent that it is impossible.
A man is first himself. But the peril is of being cut
off from his fellow creatures."
" Why feril P Men descend to meet. Are you
a socialist ? Do you believe in the opinions of
mediocre majorities ? "
" Why this adjective ? Why mediocre ? No, I
would call myself rather one who believes in the
" What race ? The race is nothing without indi-
" What is an individual without the race ? "
" An individual, with a consciousness ; or a soul,
whatever you like to call it. The race, apart from
individuals is nothing at all."
" You have introduced here several immense ques-
tions. There is the question as to whether a human
being isolated from his fellows would retain any
human characteristics. Your great Buckle has con-
sidered this in relation to the problem of heredity.
But aside of this, has the race not a soul and an
individuality ? Greater than that of its single
parts ? "
" Certainly not. The biggest thing a race does
is to produce a few big individualities."
" The biggest thing that the race does is that it
goes on. Individuals perish."
" You don't know that they do."
" That is speculation ; without evidence. I have
the most complete evidence that the race survives."
" It may die, according to science."
" That also is a speculation. But what is certain
is — that the greatest individual is great only as he
gives much to the race ; to his fellow creatures.
Without this, individuality is pure-negative."
" Individuality cannot be negative."
" There speaks the Englishwoman. It is certainly
England's highest attainment that the rights of the
individual are sacred here. But even this is not com-
plete. It is still impeded by class prejudice."
" I haven't any class prejudice."
" You are wrong ; believe me you have immensely
these prejudices. I could quite easily prove this to
you. You are in many ways most exceptionally for
an Englishwoman emancipated. But you are still
" That is only my stamp. I can't help that. But
I myself have no prejudices."
" They are so far in you unconscious." He spoke
with extreme gentleness, and Miriam looked un-
easily ahead, wondering whether with this strange
knowledge at her side she might be passing forward
to some fresh sense of things that would change the
English world for her. English prejudices. He saw
them as clearly as he saw that she was not beautiful.
And gently, as if they were charming as well as
funny to him. Their removal would come ; through
a painless association. For a while she would remain
as she was. But even seeing England from his point
of view, was being changed ; a little. The past, up
to the last few moments, was a life she had lived
without knowing that it was a life lived in special
circumstances and from certain points of view.
Now, perhaps moving away from it, these circum-
stances and points of view suddenly became a pos-
session, full of fascinating interest. But she had
lived blissfully. Something here and there in his
talk threatened happiness.
He seemed to see people only as members of
nations, grouped together with all their circum-
stances. Perhaps everything could be explained in
this way. . . . All her meaning for him was her
English heredity, a thing he seemed to think the
finest luck in the world, and her free English en-
vironment, the result of it ; things she had known
nothing about till he came, smiling at her ignorance
of them, and declaring the ignorance to be the best
testimony .... that was it ; he gave her her
nationality and surroundings, the fact of being
England to him made everything easy. There was
no need to do or be anything, individual. It was
too easy. It must be demoralising .... just
sitting there basking in being English. . . . Every-
thing she did, everything that came to her in the
outside world turned out to be demoralising ....
too easy . . . some fraud in it But the pity she
found herself suddenly feeling for all English people
who had not intelligent foreign friends gave her
courage to go on. Meanwhile there was an un-
settled troublesome point. Something that could
not be left.
" Perhaps," she said, " I daresay. But at any rate,
I have an open mind. Do you think that the race
is sacred, and has purposes, super-man you know
what I mean, Nietzsche, and that individuals are
fitted up with the instincts that keep them going,
just to blind them to the fact that they don't
matter ? "
"If one must use these terms, the race is certainly
more sacred than the individual."
" Very well then ; I know what I think. If the
sacred race plays tricks on conscious human beings,
using them for its own sacred purposes and giving
them an unreal sense of mattering, I don't care a
button for the race and I'd rather kill myself than
serve its purposes. Besides, the instincts of self
preservation, and reproduction are not the only
human motives .... they are not human at
all. . . ."
THE picturesque building had been there, just
round the corner, all these years, without
once attracting her interested notice. The question
she directed towards it, crossing the road for a
nearer view, went forth, not from herself, but from
the presence, close at her side, of Michael Shatov.
During the hour spent in her room, facing the
empty evening, she had been aware of nothing, out-
side the startling disturbance of her own move-
ments, but the immense silence he had left. Driven
forth to walk away its hours out of doors, she found,
accompanying her through the green-lit evening
squares, the tones and gestures of his voice, the cer-
tainty, that so long as she should frequent the
neighbourhood, she would retain the sense of his
companionship. The regions within her, of un-
expressed thought and feeling, to which he had not
reached, were at once all about her as she made her
old, familiar, unimpeded escape through the front
door, towards the blur of feathery green standing
in the bright twilight at the end of the grey street ;
but beyond these inner zones, restored in a tumult
of triumphant assertion of their indestructibility,
the outer difficult life of expression and association
was changed. If, as she feared, he should finally
disappear into the new world tov/ards which, with
such urgent irritated determination, she had driven
him, she would, for life, have reaped a small fund
of his Russian courage and indifference. ... It v\^as
with his impulse and interest, almost it seemed,
actually in his person, that she drew up in front of
the placard at the side of the strange low ecclesi-
astical looking porch. But as she read its contents,
he left her, sped into forget fulness hy the swift
course of her amazement. She had come, leaving
her room at exactly the right moment, directly, by
appointment, to this spot. Glancing once more for
perfect assurance, at the liberal invitation printed
in large letters at the foot of the heavenly announce-
ment, she went boldly into the porch.
At the top of the shallow flight of grey stone
steps up which she passed almost directly from the
ecclesiastical doorway, a large black-draped figure,
surmounted by the sweeping curves of an immense
black hat voluminously swathed in a gauze veil of
pale grey, stood bent towards a small woman stand-
ing on the step below her in dingy indoor black.
The large outline, standing generously out below
the broad low stone archway curving above the
steps, against the further grey stone of what
appeared to be part of a low ceiled corridor, was in
extraordinary contrast to the graciously bending,
surrendered attitude of the figure. Passing close to
the group, Miriam caught a glimpse of large plump
features, bold eyebrows, and firm dark eyes. The
whole face, imagined as unscreened, was rounded,
simple and undistinguished ; blurred by the veil,
it swam, without edges, a misty full moon. Through
the veil came a voice that thrilled her as she moved
on, led by a card bearing an arrowed instruction,
down the grey stone corridor, with the desire for
immediate^audible mimicry. The behaviour of the
voice was a perfect confirmation of deHberate in-
tentional blurring of the large face. The little
scanty frugally upstanding woman who had appeared
to be of the artisan class, was either a humorous
brick, or a toady, or of the old-fashioned respectful
servant type, to stand it. The superfluous statement
might, at least, even if the voice had become second
nature, she might be thirty, have been delivered at
an ordinary conversational pace. But to make the
unimportant comment in the deliberately refined
distressed ladylike voice, with pauses, as if every
word were a precious gift .... She was waiting
for some occasion, keeping her manner going, and
the little woman had to stand out the performance.
On her way down the corridor she met a young
man with a long neck above a low collar, walking
like an undergraduate, with a rapid lope and a
forward hen-like jerk of the head, but with kind
religious looking eyes. Underneath his conforming
manner and his English book and talk-found
thoughts, he was acutely miserable, but never alone
long enough to find it out ; never even long enough
to feel his own impulses. Two girls came swiftly
by, bare-headed, in reform dresses, talking eagerly
in high-pitched out-turned cultured voices, their
uncommunicating selves watchfully entrenched
behind the polite Norman idiom. She carried on
their manner of speech at lightning speed in her
mind, watching its eifect upon everything it handled,
of damming up, shaping, excluding all but ready-
made thought and opinion. Just ahead was an
arched doorway and a young man with a sheaf of
pamphlets standing within it. " It may " she
announced in character to an imaginary companion,
" prove necessary to have some sort of conversa-
tional interchange with this individual." Cer-
tainly it left one better prepared for the interview
than saying Good Lord shall we have to say some-
thing to this creature ? She got safely through the
doorway, exchanging a slight bow with the young
man as he provided her with a syllabus, and entered
a large lofty quietly-lit room, where a considerable
audience sat facing a raised platform more brightly
illuminated, and from which they were confronted
by a row of seated forms. She went down the central
gangway, bold in her desire for a perfect hearing
and slipped into a seat in the second row of chairs.
The chairman was taking his place and in the dying
down of conversation she heard a quiet flurry of
draperies approaching with delicate apologetic
rhythm up the gangway. It was the tall young
woman. She passed, a veiled figure with bent head
and floating scarf, along the little passage between
the front row of the audience and the fern-edged
platform, upon which she presently emerged,
taking her place next to a lady who now rose and
came forward, tall and black robed, and whose
face, sharply pointing beneath the shadow of a
plumy hat, had the expression of an eagle searching
the distance with calm piercing eyes. In rousing
ringing grievous tones she begged to be allowed to
precede the chairman with an important announce-
ment. Miriam inwardly groaned as the voice chid
tragically on, demanding a realisation on the part
of all, of the meaning for London of the promised
arrival in its midst of a world-famed authority in
Greek letters. She felt the audience behind her
quelled into absolute stillness, and took angry-
refuge in the cover of her syllabus. " The Further-
more Settlement " she read, printed boldly at the
head of the page. It was one of those missions ;
to bring culture amongst the London poor .....
" devoted young men from the Universities." Those
girls in the corridor, wrapped in their code, were
doing " settlement work." They did not look
philanthropic. What they loved most was the
building, the grey stone corridors and archways,
and being away from home on a prolonged adventure,
free to weave bright colours along the invisible
edges of life. She could not imagine them ever
becoming in the least like the elderly philanthropists
on the platform. But they were not free. The
place was a sort of monastery of culture. If they
wore habits they would be free and deeply inspiring.
But they went about dressed longingly in the
colours of sunlit landscapes, and lived their social
life with ideas. There was something monastic
about the lofty hall, with its neutral tinted walls
and high-placed windows. But the place was
modern and well-ventilated, even sternly chilly.
Turning on her shoulder to examine the dutiful
audience, she was startled by its effect of massed
intellectuality. These people were certainly not
the poor of the neighbourhood. By far the larger
number were men, and wherever she looked she met
faces from which she turned quickly away lest she
should smile her pleasure. Even those that were
heavy with stoutness and beards had the same lit
moving look of kindly adventurous thought. They
were a picked gathering ; like the Royal Institution ;
but more glowing. She turned back to the plat-
form in high hope amidst the outburst of applause
greeting the retirement of the distressful lady
and deepening to enthusiasm as there emerged
timidly from behind one of the large platform
screens a tall figure in evening dress, a great grown-
up boy, with a large fresh face and helpless straight
hanging arms and hands. He sat big and fixed, like
an idol, whilst the chairman standing bowing over
his table hurriedly remarked that an introduction
was superfluous, and gazed at the audience with large
moist blue eyes that seemed permanently open
and expressionless and yet to pray for protection,
or permission to retreat once more behind his
screen. Miriam pitied him from the bottom of her
heart and saw with relief when he rose that he
produced a roll of papers for which a little one-
legged ecclesiastical reading desk was conveniently
waiting. He was going to read. But he placed his
papers with large incapable fingers and she feared
they would flutter to the ground, till he turned and
took one fumbling expressionless step clear of the
little desk and standing just as he was, his arms
hanging once more heavy and helpless at his side,
his eyes motionlessly fixed neither on the distance
nor on any part of the audience, as if sightlessly
focussing everything before him, began, without
movement, or warning gesture, to speak. With the
first sound of his voice, Miriam surrendered herself
to breathless listening. It sounded out, at conversa-
tional pitch, with a colourless serenity that instantly
explained his bearing, revealing him beyond the
region either of diffidence or temerity. It wsls a
voice speaking to no one, in a world emptied of
everything that had gone before.
" The progress of philosophy " went the words,
in letters of gold across the dark void " is by a
series of systems ; that of science by the constant
addition of small facts to accumulated knowledge."
In the slight pause Miriam held back from the
thoughts flying out in all directions round the
glowing words, they would come again, if she could
memorise the words from which they were born,
coolly, registering the shape and length of the
phrases and the leading terms. Before the voice
began again she had read and re-read many times ;
driving back an exciting intruder trying, from the
depths of her mind to engage her on the subject
of the time-expanding swiftness of thought.
" A system " pursued the voice " very generally
corrects the fallacy of the preceding system, and
leans perhaps in the opposite direction." She
flushed warm beneath the pressure of her longing
to remain cool " Thus the movements
of philosophic thought may be compared to the
efforts of a drunken man to reach his home." The
blue eyes remained unaltered, while the large
fresh face expanded with a smiling radiance. He
was a darling. " He reels against the wall to his
right and gains an impetus which sends him stagger-
ing to the left and so on ; his progress being a
series of zigzags. But in the end he gets home.
And we may hope that philosophy will do the
same, though the road seems at times unnecessarily
He turned back to his papers, leaving his sentence
on the air in an intense silence through which
Miriam felt the eager expectancy of the audience
flow and hang waiting, gathered towards the fresh
centre whence, unless he suddenly vanished, would
come, through the perfect medium of the un-
obstructive voice, his utmost presentation of
reasons for the tantalising hope.
At the end of the lecture she sat hurriedly
-sorting and re-sorting what she had gleaned ; aware
that her attention had again and again wandered
off with single statements that had appealed to her,
longing to communicate with other members of the
audience in the hope of filling up the gaps. Perhaps
the questions would bring back some of the things
she had missed. But no one seemed to have any-
thing to ask. The relaxation of the hearty and
prolonged applause had given way to the sort of
silence that falls in a room after vociferous greet-
ings, when the anticipated occasion vanishes and the
gathered friends become suddenly unrecognisably
small and dense. She looked at the woman at her
side and caught a swift responsive glance that
shocked her, clear blue and white and remote in
limpid freshness though it was, with its chill
understanding familiarity. Something had gone
irrevocably from the evening and from herself.
The strange woman was exactly like somebody
.... a disguise of somebody. Shattering the
silence came a voice from the back of the hall. " If
the lecturer thinks, and seems to deprecate the
fact, that theology deals with metaphysical problems
in an unmetaphysical way, that is, from the point of
view of metaphysic, in an unscientific way . . . ."
compared to Dr. McHibbert's his voice was like the
voice of an intoxicated man arguing to himself in
a railway carriage " may we not say that
when metaphysic takes upon itself to criticise the
validity of scie?ttific conceptions, it does so, from the
point of view of science in an unscientific way ? "
This Miriam felt, was terribly unanswerable.
But the hushed platform was alive with the stand-
ing figure almost before the muffling of the last
emphatic word told that the assailant had re-
assumed his seat.
" I think I have said " his face beaming with the
repressed radiance of an invading smile, was lifted
towards the audience, but the blue eyes modestly
addressed the frill of green along the platform
edge, " that metaphysic, with respect to some of
the conceptions of science, while admitting that
they have their uses for practical purposes, denies
that they are exactly true. Theology does not
deny the problems of metaphysic, but answers
them in a way metaphysic cannot accept."
" In that case Theology " began a rich, reverberat-
ing clerical voice
" This is ytggy boring " said the woman.
He was going to claim, thought Miriam, noting
the evidence of foreign intelligence in her neigh-
bour's pronunciation, that religion, like meta-
physic and science, had a right to its premises and
denied that metaphysic was adequate for the study
of the ultimate nature of reality, exactly as meta-
physic denied that science was adequate.
" Yes, isn't it " she murmured, a little late,
through the deep caressing thunder of the clerical
voice, wondering how far she had admitted her
willingness to be at the disposal of anyone who
found, in these tremendous onslaughts, nothing
" If one could peacefully fall asleep until the
She spoke out quite clearly, moving so that she
was half turned towards Miriam, and completely
exposed to her, as she sat with an elbow on the back
of her chair and her knees comfortably crossed, in all
her slender grey-clad length, still set towards
the centre of the platform. Miriam unwillingly
searched her curious effect of making in the atmo-
sphere about her, a cold, delicate, blue and white
glare. She had seemed, all the evening, a well-
dressed presence. But her little oval hat, entirely
covered with a much washed piece of cream coloured
lace and set back from her forehead at the angle of
an old-fashioned flat lace cap, had not been bought
at a shop, and the light grey garment so delicate in
tone and expression, open at the neck, where creamy
lace continued the effect of the hat, was nothing
but a cheap rain-cloak. Either she was poor, and
triumphing over her poverty with a laborious de-
pressing ingenuity, or she was one of those people
who deliberately do everything cheaply. There was
something faintly horrible, Miriam felt, about the
narrowness of her escape from dowdincss to dis-
tinction Washable lace was the simplest
possible solution of the London hat problem.
No untravelled Englishwoman would have thought
of it Behind the serenity of her smooth
white brow, behind her cold wide clearly ringed
sea-blue eyes, was the dominant intelligence of
it all, the secret of the strange atmosphere, that
enveloped her whole effect ; so strong and secure
that it infected her words and movements with a
faint robust delicate levity. In most women the
sum of the tangible items would have produced
the eye-wearying, eye-estranging pathos of the
spectacle of patience fighting a lost battle, supplied
so numerously all over London by women who
were no longer young ; or at least a consciously
resigned cheerfulness. But she sat there with the
enviable cool clear radiant eyes of a child that is
held still and unsmiling by the deep entrancement
of its mirth.
The chairman had risen and suddenly quelled the
vast voice in the midst of its rising tide of tone,
with the reminder that there would be opportunity
for discussion a little later. A question rang out,
short and sharp, exploding, as if released automati-
cally by the renewal of stillness, so abruptly that
Miriam missed its significance. The woman laughed
instantly, a little clear tinkling gleeful sound,
hesitatingly supported here and there amongst the
forward rows of chairs by stirrings and small sounds
of amusement. Miriam glowed with shame. It
had been a common voice ; perhaps some lonely
uninstructed man, struggling with problems that
were as terrible to him as to anyone ; in the end
desperately getting round them, by logical somcr-
saults, so funny, that these habitually cultured
minds could see only the absurdity. Her heart
beat with gratitude as the lecturer, with gentle
respectful gravity, paraphrased at some length
an extract from the earlier part of his address. She
was once more recalled by the voice at her side.
Turning she found the unchanged face still set
towards the platform. She answered the question
in a low toneless voice that yet sounded more dis-
turbing than the easy smooth conversational tone of
her neighbour. She talked on, questioning and
commenting, in neat inclusive phrases, and Miriam,
turned towards her, reading the history of the duel
of audience and lecturer in the flickerings across her
face, of amusement or of scorn, responded freely,
delighting in a converse that was more wonderful,
with its background of cosmic discussion, than even
the untrammelled exchange of confidences with a
stranger on a bus. Presently there was a complete
" If there are no more questions " said the chair-
" I should just like " broke in a ringing cheerful
voice quite near at hand, " to ask Dr. McHibbert
why if he considers that metaphysic is of no use in a
man's life, he finds it worth while, to pursue such a
fruitless study ? "
" DofCt anszver " said the woman in clear pene-
" Don't answer ; don't answer," repeated in the
immediate neighbourhood two or three masculine
voices. The lecturer, sitting bent forward, his
friendly open brow yielded up to the invading
audience, his big hands clasped capaciously between
his knees, sent a blue glance swiftly in her direction,
hesitated a moment, and then sat silent, smiling
broadly down at his clasped hands.
" Isn't he a perfect darliiig^^'' murmured Miriam
while the chairman declared the lecture open for
discussion and she gathered herself together for
" There will be nothing worth heahghing till
he sums up " said her companion and went on to
ask her if she meant to attend the next lecture.
Miriam perceived that unless she chose to escape
forcibly, her companion had her in a close net of
conversation. She glanced and saw that her face was
already that of a familiar associate, no longer
spurring her to trace to its source the strange
impression that at first it had given her of being a
forgotten face, whose sudden return, unrecognisably
disguised, and yet so recognisable, filled her with a
remembered sentiment of dislike.
" Rather " she said and then, watching the open-
ing prospect of the long series of speeches, and
protected by the monotonous booming of a
pessimistic male voice " I'm so awfully relieved to
find that science is only half true. But I caiCt
see why he says that metaphysic is no practical use.
It would make all the difference every moment, to
know for certain that mind is more real than
Dr. McHibbcrt's voice interrupted her, damming
up the urgent flow of communications. She watched
him, Hstcning without attention.
" He's like a marvellously intelligent bolster "
she said tonelessly " but with a heart and a soul.
He certainly has a soul."
Flattered by a soft chuckle of amusement, she
added in a low murmuring man's voice " the
objectors are like candle-lit turnip ghosts," and
was rewarded by the first direct glance from the
blue eyes, smiling, assuring her that she was accept-
able. The ghost of the remembered face was laid.
Whoever it was, if in reality it were to reappear in
her life, she would be able to overcome her aversion
by bold flirtation.
- When the lecturer at last rose to reply, the guiding
phrases of his discourse were the worn familiar keys
of a past experience. Used for the second time
at the doors of the chambers they had opened
within the background of life, they grated, hesitat-
ing, and the heavy sound threw the bright spaces
into shadow and spread a film of doubt over Miriam's
eagerness to escape and share her illumination with
people waiting outside in the surrounding gloom.
The light would return and remain for her. But
it was something accomplished unaccountably.
The mere reproduction of the magic phrases, even
when after solitary peaceful contemplation she
should have reassembled them in their right
relations and their marvellously advancing sequence,
would not carry her hearers along the road she had
travelled. The something that held them together,
lively and enlivening, was incommunicable.
" Don't huggy away. The audience will take
a considerable time to disperse."
Miriam desired only to escape into the night.
Just outside, in the darkness, was the balm that
would disperse her disquietude. The grey-clad
woman held it suspended in the hot room, piling
mountainously up. But they sat enclosed, a closely
locked party of two. Conversation was going on
all over the room. This woman with her little
deprecating frown at the idea of immediate
departure, had the secret of the congregational
aspect of audiences. Miriam sat still, passively
surrendering to the forcible initiation into the new
role of lingerer, to the extent of floundering through
" What ? " she said suddenly, turning full round.
Something had thrilled upon the air about her,
bringing the whole evening to a head.
" Haldane's Pathway to Reality " repeated the
woman as their eyes met. Miriam was held by the
intense radiance of the blue eyes. Light, strangely
cool and pure, flowed from the still face. She was
beautiful, with a curious impersonal glowless
beauty. The light that came from her was the
light of something she saw, habitually.
" But I ought not to recommend you to read.
You ought to spend all your free time in the open
air. Moreover, it's very stiff reading."
Miriam rose, beleaguered and flinching. How
did people find out about books ? Where did they
get them from ? This woman could not afford to
buy big expensive volumes Why did her
quick mind assume that the difficulty of the book
would be a barrier, and not see that it was the one
book she was waiting for, even if it were the stiffest
and dryest in the world ? But the title
was unforgettable ; one day she would come across
the book somewhere and get at its meaning in her
" Well ; we may meet next week, if we are both
early ; I shall be early." She rose enlivening her
grey cloak with the swift grace of her movements
and together they proceeded down the rapidly
" My name is Lucie Duclaux."
The shock of this unexpected advance arrested
Miriam's rapid flight towards the harbour of soli-
tude. She smiled a formal acknowledgment, unable
and entirely unwilling to identify herself with a
name. Her companion, remaining close in her
neighbourhood as they threaded their way amongst
talking groups along the corridor, said nothing more,
and when they reached the doorway Miriam's deter-
mination to be free, kept her blind and dumb. She
was aware of an exclamation about the rain. That
was enough. She would not risk a parting intimate
enough to suggest another meeting, with anyone
who at the sight of rain, belaboured the air and the
people about her, with an exclamation that was,
however gracious and elegant, a deliberate assault,
condemning her moreover of the possession of two
voices Gathering up her Marie Duclaux
cloak, the woman bowed swiftly and disappeared
into the night.
The girls had understood that the evening had
been a vital experience. But they had sat far away,
seeming to be more than ever enclosed in their
attitude of tolerant amusement at her doings ; more
than ever supporting each other in a manner that
toki, with regard to herself, of some final unani-
mous conclusion reached and decision taken, after
much discussion, once for all. In the old days they
would have thought nothing of her dropping in at
eleven o'clock at night, with no reason but that of
just dropping in. But now, their armoury of de-
tached expectancy demanded always that she should
supply some pretext. To-night, feeling that the
pretext was theirs, everyone's, news too pressing to
wait, she had rushed in unprepared, with something
of her old certainty of welcome. It was so simple.
It must be important to Jan that what Hegel meant
was only just beginning to be understood. If Jan's
acceptance of Hacckel made her sad, here was what
she wanted ; even though McHibbert said that wc
have no right to believe a theory because we could
not be happy unless it were true All the
same a theory that makes you miserable can't be
altogether true Miserable ; not sorry.
Everything depends upon the kind of man who sets
up the theory Pessimists can find as good
reasons as optimists but if the optimist is
cheerful because he is healthy and the pessimist
gloomy because . . . everything is a matter of tem-
perament. Neither of them see that the fact of
there being anything anywhere is more wonderful
than any theory about the fact making
optimists and pessimists look exactly alike
then why was philosophy so fascinating ?
" You will lose your colour, my child, and get
protuberances on your brow."
" What then ? "
St. Pancras clock struck midnight as she reached
home. The house was in darkness. She went noise-
lessly up the first two flights and forward, welcomed,
towards the blue glimmer of street lamps showing
through the open drawing-room door. It was long
since she had seen the room empty. His absence
had restored it to her in its old shadowy character ;
deep black shadows, and spaces of faint blue light
that came in through the lace curtains, painting
their patterned mesh on the sheen of the opposite
walls. The old familiar presence was there in the
hush of the night, dissolving the echoes of the day
and promising, if she stayed long enough within it,
the emergence of to-morrow, a picture, with long
perspectives, seen suddenly in the distance, alone
upon a bare wall. She stood still, moving rapidly
into the neutral zone between the two days, further
and further into the spaces of the darkness, until
everything disappeared, and all days were far-off
strident irrelevances, for ever unable to come be-
tween her and the sound of the stillness and its
touch, a cool breath, passing through her unimpeded.
She could not remember whether she had first
seen him rise or heard the deep tones coming out
of the velvety darkness.
" No, you did not startle me. I've been to a
lecture," she said sinking in a sleep-like stupor into
a chair drawn up beyond the light of the window,
opposite his own, across which there struck a shaft
of light falling, now that he was again seated, only
on his face. Miriam gazed at him from within the
sheltering darkness, fumbling sleepily for the way
back to some lucid recovery of the event of her
" Ah. It is a pity I could not be there." His
words broke into the stillness, an immensity of com-
munication, thrown forward through their unre-
stricted sitting, in the darkness, where, to bridge,
before to-morrow, the gap made by his evening's
absence, he had waited for her. She sat silent, her
days once more wound closely about her, an endless
" Tell me of this lecture."
" Tsa. It is indeed a pity."
" It is a series "... are you sitting there already
involved in engagements . . . cut off ; changed . . .
" Excellent. I shall most certainly come." He
was looking freely ahead. His evening had not in-
terested him .... he had gone and come back,
his horizons unenlarged .... but not seeing the
impression he had made on those people ; the steps
they would take.
" It would be splendid for you. The lecturer's
English wonder Jul. The way the close thought made
his sentences, fascinated me so much, that I often
missed the meaning in listening to the rhythm ; like
a fugue." Aren't you glad you've enlarged your
horizons ? Don't you know what people are . . .
what you, a person, are to people ? Are you a
person ? In a blankness, life streamed up in spirals,
vanishing, leaving nothing ....
" That is not bad. Ah I should not have paid
this visit. It was also in some respects most painful
to me." Poor little man, poor little lonely man
white-faced and sensitive, in a world without indi-
viduals ; grown and formed and wise without
realising an individual ; never to realise. Audible
within the darkness v^ras a singing, hovering on spaces
of warm rosy light.
" You must not regret your visit."
" Regret no ; it was much as I anticipated. But
it is disheartening, this actual witnessing." They
were disposed of in some way ; in one piece ; he
would have a formula.
" What are they like ? "
" Quite as I expected ; good simple people, kind
and hospitable. I have been the whole evening
there. Ah but it is sad for me this first meeting
with English Jews."
" Perhaps you can make Zionists of them."
" That is absolutely impossible."
" Did you talk to them about Zionism ? "
" It is useless to talk to these people whose first
pride is that they are British.''^
" But they're not:'
" You should tell them so. They will tell you
they are British of the Jewish persuasion. Ah it has
revolted me to hear them talk of this war, the
British Empire, and the subject races."
" I know ; disgusting ; but very British. But the
British Empire has done a good deal for the Jews
and I suppose the Jews feel loyal."
" That is true. But what they do not see is that
they are not, and never can be, British; that the
British do not accept them as such."
" That's true I know ; the general attitude ; but
there are no disabilities. The Jews are free in
" They are free ; to the honour of England in all
history. But they are nevertheless Jews and not
Enghshmen. Those Jews who deny, or try to ignore
this have ceased to be Jews without becoming
Enghshmen. The toleration for Jews, moreover,
will last only so long as the English remain in ignor-
ance of the immense and increasing power and
influence of the Jew in this country. Once that is
generally recognised, even England will have its anti-
''''N ever. England can assimilate anything. Look
at the races that have been built into us in the past."
" No nation can assimilate the Jew."
" What about inter-marriages ? "
" That is the minority."
"If it was right to make a refuge for the Jews
here it is still right and England will never regret
" Believe me it is not so simple. Remember that
British Jewry is perpetually and increasingly rein-
forced by immigration from those countries where
Jews are segregated and ever more terribly perse-
cuted. At present there is England, both for the
Jewish speculator and the refugee pauper. But for
those who look at facts, the end of this possibility
is in sight. The time for the closing of this last door
" I don't believe England will ever do it. How
can they ? Where will the Jews go ? It's impossible
to think of. It will be the end of England if we
begin that sort of thing."
" It may be the beginning of Jewish nationality.
Ah at least this visit has reawakened all the Zionist
" It is a glorious idea." His evening had been
eventful ; sending him back to the freshness of the
days at Basel. It was then, she thought, at the
moment he was bathed in the unceasing beauty of
the surroundings, and immersed within it, in inex-
tinguishable association with the students of the
photographs, poised blissfully irresponsible in a per-
manent boundless beguilement, himself the most
untouched of all, the most smoothly rounded, and
elastically surrendered with his deep-singing, child-
like confident face, that he had been touched and
shaped and sent forth ; his future set towards a
single separate thing, the narrowest, strangest, most
unknown of movements, far away from the wide
European life that had flowed through his mind.
" It is a dream, far-off. In England hardly even
that." There was a blankness before him. Uncon-
scious of his youth, and his radiating charm, distilled
from the modern world ; Frenchman, Russian,
philosophical German-brained, he sat there white-
faced, an old old Jew, immeasurably old, cut off,
alone with his conviction, facing the blank spaces
of the future. Why could he not be content to be
a European ? She swayed, dragging at the knot. In
his deeply saturated intelligence there still was a
balance on the side from which he had declared to
his father, that he was first a man ; then a Jew. By
the accidents of living, this might be cherished.
The voices of the night cried out against the
treachery. She glanced remorsefully across at him
and recognised v/ith a sharp pang of pity, in his own
eyes, the well-known eyes wide open towards the
darkness where she sat invisible, the look he had
described . . . wehmiitig ; in spite of his sheltered
happy prosperous youth it was there ; he belonged
to those milhons whose sufferings he had revealed to
her, a shadow lying for ever across the bright un-
seeing confidence of Europe, hopeless. And now, at
this moment, standing out from their midst the
strange beautiful Old Testament figure in modern
clothes ; the fine beautifully moulded Hebrew head,
so like his own
" But it is extraordinary ; that just when every-
thing is at its worst, this idea should have arisen.
It's all very well for people to laugh at
" Who is this man ? "
" The man who is always waiting for something
to turn up. Things do turn up, exactly at the right
moment. It doesn't mean fatalism. I don't believe
in laisser-aller as a principle ; but there is something
in things, something the people who make plans and
think they are thinking out everything in advance,
don't know ; their oblivion of it, while they go
busily on knowing exactly what they are going to do
and why, even at picnics, is a terrible thing. And
somehow they always fail."
" They do not by any means always fail. In all
concerted action there must be a plan. Herzl is
certainly a man with a plan."
" Yes but it's different ; his idea is his plan. It
isn't clever. And now that it is here it seems so
simple. Why was it never put forward before ? "
" The greatest ideas are always simple ; though
not in their resultants. This dream however, has
always been present with Jews."
" Of course. The Zionist Movement, coming
now, when it is most wanted, is not altogether Herzl.
It's that strange thing, the thing that makes you
stare, in history. A sort of shape "
" It is the collective pressure of life ; an unseen
movement. But if you feel this what now becomes
of your individualism ? Eh ? " He chuckled his
delight .... passing so easily and leisurely to per-
" Oh the shape doesn't affect the individual^ in
himself. There's something behind all those out-
side things that goes on independently of them,
something much more wonderful."
" You are wrong. What you call the shape,
affects most profoundly every individual in spite of
" But he must be an individual to be affected at
all, and no two people are affected in the same way
after this evening I'm more of an indi-
vidualist than before. It is relief to know that
science is a smaller kind of truth than philosophy.
The real difficulty is not between science and re-
ligion at all, but between religion and fhiloso-phy.
Philosophy seems to think science assumes too much
to begin with and can never get any further than
" Science can afford to smile at this."
" And that religion is philosophically unsound,
though modern religious controversy is meta-
" All controversy depends from differences in
estimation of term significations."
" That's why arguments are so maddening ; even
small discussions ; people go rushing on, getting
angrier and angrier, talking about quite different
things, especially men, because they never want to
get at the truth, only to score a point."
" You are unjust ; many men put truth before
any other consideration whatsoever. It is not only
unjust, it is most bad for you to hold this cynical
" Well, men arguing always look like that to
women. That's why women always go off at a
tangent ; because they reply not to what men say
but to what they mean, which is to score a foint,
which anybody can do, with practice, and while they
hold on to the point they mean to score, they are
revealed, under all sorts of circumstances, all sorts
of things about them are as plain as a pike-staff, to a
woman, and the results of these things ; so that she
suddenly finds herself saying something that sounds
quite irrelevant, but isn't."
" Nevertheless there is honourable controversy,
and most fruitful."
" There are people here and there with open
minds. Very few."
" The point is not the few, but that they arey
" The few just men, who save the city."
" But even existence is not quite certain."
" What is this ? "
" Descartes said, my existence is certain ; that is
" If this is a fallacy for metaphysic, so much the
worse for metaphysic."
" That is argumentum ad hominen."
" I am not afraid of it."
" But what can you put in place of metaphysic ? "
" Life is larger."
" I know. I know. I know. Something exists.
Metaphysic admits that. I nearly shouted when Dr.
McHibbert said that. It's enough. It answers
everything. Even to have seen it for a moment is
enough. The first time I thought of it I nearly
died of joy. Descartes should have said " I am
aware that there is something, therefore I am." If
I am, other people are ; but that does not seem to
matter. That is their own affair."
" Beware of solipsism."
" I don't care what it is called. It is certainty.
You must begin with the individual. There we are
again." There was an end to the conversation that
could not be shared. The words of it already
formed, intangibly, waited, ready to disappear,
until she should be alone and could read them on a
clear background. If she stayed they would dis-
appear irrevocably. She rose, bidding him a
hurried good-night, suddenly aware of the busily
sleeping household, friendly guardian of this wide
leisurely night-life. He too was aware and grateful,
picking his way cautiously through the shadows of
the large room, sheltered from his loneliness,
invisibly enclosed by the waiting incommunicable
statement that yet left him, accusing him of wilful
blindness, so cruelly outside.
" Materialism " scribbled Miriam eagerly " has
the recommendation of being a Monism, and there-
fore a more perfect explanation of the universe than
a Dualism can be And Matter forms one
great whole, persisting through many ages. Mind
appears in the form of separate individuals, isolated
from each other by Matter, and each ceasing, so far
as observation goes, after a very fev^ years. Also the
changes which we can observe Mind to make in
Matter are comparatively insignificant, while a very
slight change in Matter will either destroy mind, or,
at least, remove it from the only circumstances in
which we can observe its existence. All these
characteristics make matter appear much more
powerful and important than mind."
" I consider this a very strong reasoning "
muttered Mr. Shatov.
" Ssh. Wait." He was sitting intent, with an
awakened youthful student's face, meeting, through
her agency, in England, a first-class intelligence.
He would hear the beautiful building up, strophe
and antistrophe, of the apparently unassailable
argument, the pause, and then, in the same shapely
cadences, its complete destruction, for ever, the
pleasant face smiling at the audience above the
ruins, like a child who has just shattered a castle
" Idealism was weakened by being supposed to
be bound up with certain theological doctrines which
became discredited. All these things account for
the great strength of materialism some years ago.
There has been a reaction against this, but the
extent of the reaction has been exaggerated."
" Quite so."
" Wait, wait."
" It still remains the belief to which most people
tend on first leaving an unreflecting position. And
may remain there. Science is a large element in our
lives now, and if we try to make science serve as
metaphysic, we get materialism. Nor is it to be
wished — even by idealists — that materialism should
become too weak. For idealism is seldom really
vigorous except in those who have had a serious
struggle with materialism It would be
very difiicult to disprove materialism, if we once
accepted the reality of matter as a thing in itself.
But, as we saw when considering dualism, such a
reality of matter is untenable. And this conclusion
is- obviously more fatal to materialism than it was to
dualism. And again, if materialism is true, all our
thoughts are produced by purely material ante-
cedents. These are quite blind, and are just as
likely to produce falsehood as truth. We have thus
no reason for believing any of our conclusions —
including the truth of materialism, which is there-
fore a self-contradictory hypothesis."
" I find this too easily stated.''
Then God is proved
" You weren't here before. Philosophy is not
difficult. It is common sense systematised and
clarified." .... wayfaring men, though fools,
shaU not err therein. It is not what people think
but what they know. Thought is words. Philosophy
will never find words to express life ; the philo-
sopher is the same as the criminal ?
" He seems to say spirit when he means /z/i?."
" What is Hfe ? "
" Moreover presentationism is incompatible with
the truth of general propositions — and therefore
with itself, since it can only be expressed by a
general proposition. And closer analysis shows that
it is incompatible even with particular propositions,
since these involve both the union of two terms and
the use of general ideas." People know this faintly
when they say things ; not zuhy ; but faintly every-
one knows that nothing can be said. Then why
listen any more ? Because if you know, exactly, that
nothing can be said and the expert reasons for it,
you know for certain in times of weakness, how
much there is that might be expressed if there were
any way of expressing it But there was no
need to listen any more since God was proved by
the impossibility of his absence, like an invisible
star. No one seemed at all disturbed ; the lecturer
least of all. Perhaps he felt that the effects of real
realisation would be so tremendous that he could
not face them. The thought of no God made life
simply silly. The thought of God made it em-
barrassing. If a hand suddenly appeared writing on
the wall, what would he do ? He would blush ;
standing there as a competitor, fighting for his
theories, amongst the theories of other men. Yet
if there were no philosophers, if the world were
imagined without philosophy, there would be
nothing but theology, getting more and more
Everybody was so calm. The calmness of insanity.
Nobody quite all there. Yet intelligent. What
were they all thinking about, wreathed in films of
intelligent insanity ; watching the performance in
the intervals of lives filled with words that meant
nothing breath was more than words ;
the fact of breathing . . . but everyone was in
such a hurry.
" I would ask "... one horrified glance
revealed his profile quivering as he hesitated.
A louder, confident, dictatorial English voice had
rung out simultaneously from the other side of the
hall. He would have to sit down, shaken by his
brave attempt. But to the whole evening, the deep
gentle tones had been added, welling through and
beyond the Englishman's strident, neat proclama-
tion, and containing, surely everyone must hear it, so
much of the answer to the essential question. The
chairman hesitated, turned decisively and the other
man sat down.
" What the lecturer makes of the psycho-
physical paralellism ? "
He drove home his question on a note of reproach-
ful expostulation and sat down drawn together,
with bent head and eye downcast, but listening
intently with his serenely singing child's brow.
Miriam was instantly sorry that his words had got
through, their naked definiteness changing the
eloquent tone, sharpening it to a weapon, a borrowed
" That's it " she breathed, hoping the lecturer's
answer would throw some light on the meaning of
the fascinating phrase, floating before her, fresh
from far-off philosophical battle-fields, bright from
centuries of contemplation, flashing out now, to-
day, in Europe triumphantly, in desperate en-
counters. The lecturer was on his feet, gleaming
towards their centre of the audience his recognition
of the clean thrust.
" The correlation between physical and mental
gives an empirical support to materialism." That
couldn^t be spirited away. The scientists swore there
was no break ; so convincingly ; perhaps they
would yet win and prove it. " But it is necessary to
distinguish between metaphysic and psychology.
Psychology, like physical science, is to be put to the
score of our knowledge of matter."
" In which he doesn't believe " scoffed Miriam,
distractedly poised between Mr. Shatov's drama
and the prospect opening within her mind.
" I find this a most arbitrary statement."
" Yes, rather " murmured Miriam emphatically,
and waited for a moment as if travelling with him
along his line of thought. But he was recovering,
had recovered, did not seem to be dwelling or
moving in any relation to what he had said,
appeared to be disinterestedly listening to the
" Besides " she said, " the empirical method is a
most important method, and jolly "
" Poor chap ; what a stupidity is this question."
Miriam smiled solicitously, but she had travelled
back enraptured across nine years to the day, now
only yesterday, of her first meeting with her newly
recovered word. Jevons. From the first the
sienna brown volume had been wonderful, the only
one of the English books that had any connection
with life ; and that day, Sunday afternoon prep in
the dining-room, with the laburnum and pink may
outside the window changing as she read from a
tantalising reproach to a vivid encirclement of her
being by all the spring scenes she had lived through.
coming and going, the sight and scent and shimmer-
ing movement of them, as if she moved, bodiless and
expanded, about in their midst. Something about
the singing, Hfting word appearing suddenly on the
page, even before she had grasped its meaning,
intensified the relation to life of the little hard
motionless book, leaving it, when she had read on,
centred round the one statement ; the rest remain-
ing in shadow, interesting but in some strange way
The recovery of the forgotten word at the centre
of " the philosophical problems of the present
day " cast a fresh glow of reality across her school-
days. The efforts she had so blindly made, so
indolently and prodigally sacrificing her chances of
success in the last examination, to the few things
that had made the world shine about her, had been
in some way right, with a shapeliness and fruitful-
ness of their own. Her struggles with Jevons had
been bread cast upon the waters how
differently the word now fell into her mind, with
" intuition " happily at home there to keep it
company. If materialism could be supported
empirically, there was something in it, something in
matter that had not yet been found out
Meantime philosophy proved God. And Hegel had
not brushed away the landscape. There was God
and the landscape.
" Materialism isn't dead yet " she heard herself
" More. Chemistry will yet carry us further
than this kind of metaphysical surmising."
Taking part, even being with someone who took
part in the proceedings, altered them. Some
hidden chain of evidence was broken. Things no
longer stood quietly in the air for acceptance or
rejection. The memory of the evening would
be a memory of social life, isolated revelations of
WHEN they emerged from the dusty shabbi-
ness of the Euston Road it was suddenly a
perfect June morning. Now was the moment. She
opened the letter unnoticed, with her eyes on the
sunlit park-lined vista " London owes
-much to the fact that its main thoroughfares run
east and west ; walk westward in the morning down
any one of them, or in the afternoon towards the
east and whenever the sun shines you will see "
and without arousing his attention
hurriedly read the few lines. Was that man still
in London, trying to explain it to himself, or had
he been obliged to go away, or perhaps to die ?
London is heaven and can't be explained. To be
sent away is to be sent out of heaven.
" I've been telling," useless words, coming thin
and helpless out of darkness and pressing against
darkness .... a desperate clutching at a borrowed
performance to keep alive and keep on ... " my
employers what I think of them just lately."
" Excellent. What have you told ? "
His unconscious voice steadied her ; as the dark-
ness drove nearer bringing thoughts that must
not arrive. The morning changed to a painted
scene, from which she turned away, catching the
glance of the leaves near-by, trickily painted, as
she turned to steer the eloquence flowing up in
" Well, it was a whole point of view I saw
suddenly in the train coming back after Easter.
I read an essay, about a superannuated clerk, an
extraordinary thing, very simple and well written,
not in the least like an essay. But there was some-
thing in it that was horrible. The employers gave
the old man a pension, with humorous benevo-
lence. He is so surprised and so blissfully happy in
having nothing to do but look at the green world
for the rest of the time, that he feels nothing but
gratitude. That's all right, from his point of view,
being that sort of old man. But how dare the firm
be humorously benevolent ? It is no case for
humour. It is not funny that prosperous people can
use up lives on small fixed salaries that never
increase beyond a certain point, no matter how
well the employers get on, even if for the last few
years they give pensions. And they don't give
pensions. If they do, they are thought most
benevolent. The author, who is evidently in a way
a thoughtful man, ought to have known this. He
just wrote a thing that looks charming on the
surface and is beautifully written and is really
perfectly horrible and disgusting. Well, I suddenly
thought employers ought to know. I don't know
what can be done. / don't want a pension. I hate
working for a salary as it is. But employers ought to
know how fearfully unfair everything is. They
ought to have their complacency smashed up." He
was engrossed. His foreign intelligence sympa-
thised. Then she was right.
" Anyhow. The worst of it is that my em-
ployers are so frightfully nice. But the principle's
the same, the frightful unfairness. And it hap-
pened that just before I went away, just as Mr.
Hancock was going off for his holiday, he had been
annoyed by one of his Mudie books going back
before he had read it, and no others coming that
were on his list, and he suddenly said to me in a
grumbling tone ' you might keep an eye on my
Mudie books.' I was simply furious. Because
before I began looking after the books — ^which he
had never asked me to do, and was quite my own
-idea — it was simply a muddle. They all kept lists
in a way, at least put down books when they hit
upon one they thought they would like, and then
sent the whole list in, and never kept a copy, and of
course forgot what they'd put down. Well, I
privately took to copying those lists and crossing
off the books as they came and keeping on sending
in the rest of the list again and again till they had
all come. Well, I know a wise person would not
have been in a rage and would meekly have rushed
about keeping more of an eye than ever. But I
can't stand unfairness. It was the principle of the
thing. What made it worse was that for some time
I have had the use of one of his books myself, his
idea, and of course most kind. But it doesn't alter
the principle. In the train I saw the whole unfair-
ness of the life of employees. However hard they
work, their lives don't alter or get any easier. They
live cheap poor lives in anxiety all their best years
and then are expected to be grateful for a pension,
and generally get no pension. I've left off living in
anxiety ; perhaps because I've forgotten how to
have an imagination. But that is the principle and
I came to the conclusion that no employers, however
generous and nice, are entitled to the slightest special
consideration. And I came back and practically
said so. I told him that in future I would have
nothing to do with his Mudie books. It was out-
side my sphere. I also said all sorts of things that
came into my head in the train, a whole long
speech. About unfairness. And to prove my point
to him individually I told him of things that were
unfair to me and their other employees in the
practice ; about the awfulness of having to be there
first thing in the morning from the country after
a week-end. They don't. They sail of? to their
expensive week-ends without even saying good-
bye, and without even thinking whether we can
manage to have any sort of recreation at all on
our salaries. I said that, and also that I objected
to spend a large part of a busy Monday morning
arranging the huge bunches of flowers he brought
back from the country. That was not true. I
loved those flowers and could always have some
for my room ; but it was a frightful nuisance
sometimes, and it came into the principle, and I
wound up by saying that in future I would do only
the work for the practice and no odd jobs of any
" What was his reply ? "
" Oh well, I've got the sack."
" Are you serious " he said in a low frightened
tone. The heavens were clear, ringing with morning
joy ; from far away in the undisturbed future she
looked back smiling upon the episode that lay before
her growing and pressing.
" I'm not serious. But they are. This is a
solemn, awfully nice little note from Mr. Orly ; he
had to write, because he's the senior partner, to
inform me that he has come to the conclusion that
I must seek a more congenial post. They have
absolutely made up their minds. Because they
know quite well I have no training for any other
work, and no resources, and they would not have
done this unless they were absolutely obliged."
" Then you will be obliged to leave these gentle-
'men ? "
" Of course long before I had finished talking
I was thinking about all sorts of other things ; and
seeing all kinds of points of view that seemed to
be stated all round us by people who were looking
on. I always do when I talk to Mr. Hancock.
His point of view is so clear-cut and so reasonable
that it reveals all the things that hold social life
together, and brings the ghosts of people who
have believed and suffered for these things into
the room, but also all kinds of other points of view.
.... But I'm not going to leave. I can't. What
else could I do ? Perhaps I will a little later on,
when this is all over. But I'm not going to be
dismissed in solemn dignity. It's too silly. That
shows you how nice they are. I know that really
I must leave. Anyone would say so. But that's
the extraordinary thing ; I don't believe in those
things ; solemn endings ; being led by the nose by
the necessities of the situation. That may be
undignified. But dignity is silly ; the back view.
Already I can't believe all this solemnity has
happened. It's simply a most fearful bother.
They've managed it splendidly, waiting till Saturday
morning, so that I shan't see any of them again.
The Orlys will be gone away for a month when I get
there to-day and Mr. Hancock is away for the week-
end and I am offered a month's salary in lieu of
notice, if I prefer it. I had forgotten all this
machinery. They're perfectly in the right, but
I'd forgotten the machinery I knew
yesterday. They were all three shut up together
in the den, talking in low tones, and presently
came busily out, each so anxious to pass the dis-
missed secretary in hurried preoccupation, that they
collided in the doorway, and gave everything away
to me by the affable excited way they apologised
to each other. If I had turned and faced them
then I should have said worse things than I had said
to Mr. Hancock. I hated them, with their resources
and their serenity, complacently pleased with each
other because they had decided to smash an employee
who had spoken out to them."
" This was indeed a scene of remarkable signifi-
" I don't know I once told Mr. Hancock
that I would give notice every year, because I
think it must be so horrible to dismiss anybody.
But I'm not going to be sent away by machinery.
In a way it is like a family suddenly going to law."
But with the passing of the park and the coming
of the tall houses on either side of the road, the
open June morning was quenched. It retreated
to balconies, flower-filled by shocked condemning
people, prosperously turned away towards the
world from which she was banished. Wimpole
Street, Harley Street, Cavendish Square. The
names sounded in her ears the appeal they had
made when she was helplessly looking for work.
It was as if she were still waiting to come
Within the Saturday morning peace of the
deserted house lingered the relief that had followed
their definite decision. . They were all drawn
together to begin again, renewed, freshly conscious
of the stabilities of the practice ; their enclosed
She concentrated her mental gaze on their
grouped personalities, sharing their long con-
sultations, acting out in her mind with characteristic
gesture and speech, the part each one had taken,
confronting them one by one, in solitude, with a
different version, holding on, breaking into their
common-sense finalities. ... It was all nothing ;
meaningless like things in history that led
on to events that did not belong to them because
nobody went below the surface of the way things
appear to be joined together but are not
but the words belonging to the underlying things
were far away, only to be found in long silences,
and sounding when they came out into conversa-
tions, irrelevant, often illogical and self-contra-
dictory, impossible to prove, driving absurdly
across life towards things that seemed impossible,
but were true there were two layers of
truth. The truths laid bare by common-sense in
swift decisive conversations, founded on apparent
facts, were incomplete. They shaped the surface,
made things go kaleidoscoping on, recognisable, in
a sort of general busy prosperous agreement ; but
at every turn, with every application of the common-
sense civilised decisions, enormous things v^^ere left
behind, unsuspected, forced underground, but never
dying, slow things with slow slow fruit
the surface shape was powerful, everyone was in it,
that was where free-will broke down, in the moving
on and being spirited away for another spell from
the underlying things, but in everyone, alone, often
unconsciously, was something, a real inside person-
ality that was turned away from the surface. In
front of everyone, away from the bridges and
catchwords, was an invisible plank, that would
bear always .... forgotten ....
nearly all smiles were smiled from the bridges ....
nearly all deaths were murders or suicides ....
It would be such an awful labour in the
long interval the strength for it would disappear.
Thoughts must be kept away. Activities. The
week-end would be a vacuum of tense determina-
tion. That was the payment for headlong speech.
Speech, thought-out speech, does nothing but
destroy. There had been a moment of hesitation
in the train, swamped by the illumination coming
from the essay
The morning's letters lay unopened on her table.
Dreadful. Dealing with them would bring un-
consciousness, acceptance of the situation would
leap upon her unawares. She gathered them up con-
versationally, summoning presences and the usual
atmosphere of the working day, but was disarmed
by the trembling of her hands. The letters were the
last link. Merely touching them had opened the
door to a withering pain. When the appointments
were kept, she would no longer be in the house.
The patients crowded through her mind ; in-
dividuals groups, famihes, the whole fabric of social
life richly unrolled day by day, for her contempla-
tion ; spirited away. Each letter brought the
sting of careless indifferent farewell.
At the hall door James was whistHng for a
hansom ; it was a dream picture, part of the week
that was past. A hansom drew up, the abruptly
reined-in horse sHpping and scrabbhng. Perhaps
there was a patient hidden in Mr. Leyton's quiet
sounding surgery. Once more she could watch a
patient's departure; the bright oblong of street
he was away for the week-end. There was
no patient. It was a dream picture. Dream figures
were coming downstairs. . . . Mrs. Orly, Mr. Orly,
not yet gone ; coming hurriedly straight towards
her. She rose without thought, calmly unoccupied,
watching them come, one person, swiftly and
gently. They stood about her, quite near ; silently
radiating their kindliness.
" I suppose we must say good-bye," said Mrs.
Orly. In her sweet little sallow face not a shadow
of reproach ; but lively bright sorrow, tears in her
" I say, we're awfully sorry about this," said Mr.
Orly gustily, shifting his poised bulk from one foot
to the other.
" So am I," said Miriam seeking for the things
they were inviting her to say. She could only smile
" It is a pity," whispered Mrs. Orly. This was
the Orlys ; the reality of them ; an English reality ;
utterly unbusinesslike; with no codes but them-
selves ; showing themselves ; without disguises of
voice or manner, to a dismissed employee ; the
quality of England ; old-fashioned.
" I know." They both spoke together and then
Mrs. Orly was saying " No, Ro can't bear strangers."
" If you don't want me to go I shall stay," she
murmured. But the sense of being already half
reinstated was driven away by Mrs. Orly's unaltered
" Ungrateful ? " The gustily panting tones were
the remainder of the real anger he had felt, listening
to Mr. Hancock's discourse. They had no grievance
and they had misunderstood his.
" No " she said coldly, " I don't think so."
" Hang it all, excuse my language, but y'know
he's done a good deal for ye." ' All expectation of
gratitude is meanness and is continually punished
by the total insensibility of the obliged person '
"we are lucky ; we ought to be grateful ; "
meaning, to God. Then unlucky people ought to
be ungrateful. . . .
" Besides " the same gusty tone " it's as good as
telling us we're not gentlemen ; y'see ? " The
blue eyes flashed furiously.
Then all her generalisations had been taken
personally. ..." Oh well," she said helplessly.
" We shall be late, laddie."
" Surely that can be put right. I must talk to
" Well, to tell y'honestly I don't think y'll be
able to do anything with Hancock." Mrs. Orly's
distressed little face supported his opinion, and her
surprising sudden little embrace and Mr. Orly's
wringing handshake meant not only the enduring
depths of their kindHness but their pained dismay
in seeing her desolate and resourceless, their
certainty that there was no hope. It threw a
strong light. It would be difficult for him to
withdraw ; perhaps impossible ; perhaps he had
already engaged another secretary But she
found that she had not watched them go away and
was dealing steadily with the letters, with a blank
mind upon which presently emerged the features
of the coming week-end.
" Well as I say " Miriam followed the linger-
ing held-in cold vexation of the voice, privately
prompting it with informal phrases fitting the
picture she held, half-smiling, in her mind, of a
moody, uncertain, door-slamming secretary, using
the whole practice as material for personal musings,
liable suddenly to break into long speeches of
accusation. But if they were spoken, they would
destroy the thing that was being given back to her,
the thing that had made the atmosphere of the
room. " It will be the most unbusinesslike thing
I've ever done ; and I doubt very much whether
it will answer."
" Oh well. There's not any reason why it
shouldn't." She smiled provisionally. It was not
yet quite time to rise and feel life flowing about
her in the familiar room, purged to a fresh
austerity by the coming and passing of the storm.
There was still a rankling, and glorious as it was to
sit talking at leisure, the passing of time piled up
the sense of ultimate things missing their oppor-
tunity of getting said. She could not, with half
her mind set towards the terms, promising a
laborious future, of her resolution that he should
never regret his unorthodoxy, find her way to them.
And the moments as they passed gleamed too
brightly with confirmation of the strange blind
faith she had brought as sole preparation for the
encounter, hovered with too quiet a benediction
to be seized and used deliberately, without the
pressure of the sudden inspiration for which they
seemed to wait.
" Well, as I say, that depends entirely on your-
self. You must clearly understand that I expect
you to fulfil all reasonable requests whether re-
ferring to the practice or no, and moreover to
fulfil them cheerfully.''^
" Well, of course I have no choice. But I can't
promise to be cheerful ; that's impossible." An
obstinate tightening of the grave face.
" I think perhaps I might manage to be serene ;
generally. I can't pretend to be cheerful."
' Assume an air of cheerfulness, and presently you
will be cheerful, in spite of yourself.' Awful. To
live like that would be to miss suddenly finding the
hidden something that would make you cheerful
" Well as I say."
" You see there's always the awful question of
right and wrong mixed up with everything ; all
sorts of rights and wrongs, in the simplest things.
I can't think how people can go on so calmly. It
sometimes seems to me as if everyone ought to stop
and do quite other things. It's a nightmare, the
way things go on. I want to stay here, and yet I
often wonder whether I ought ; whether I ought to
go on doing this kind of work."
" Well as I say, I know quite well the work here
leaves many of your capabilities unoccupied."
" It's not that. I mean everything in general."
" Well — if it is a question of right and wrong, I
suppose the life here like any other, offers oppor-
tunities for the exercise of the Christian virtues."
Resignation ; virtues deliberately set forth every
day like the wares in a little shop ; and the world
going on outside just the same. A sort of sale of
mean little virtues for respectability and a living ;
the living coming by amiable co-operation with a
world where everything was wrong, turning the
little virtues into absurdity ; respectable absurdity.
He did not think the practice of the Christian
virtues in a vacuum was enough. But he had made
a joke, and smiled his smile. . . . There was no
answer anywhere in the world to the question he
had raised. Did he remember saying why shouldn't
you take up dentistry ? Soon it would be too late
to make any change ; there was nothing to do now
but to stay and justify things . . it would be
impossible to be running about in a surgery with
grey hair ; it would make the practice seem dowdy.
All dental secretaries were young. . . . The work
. . . nothing but the life all round it ; the existence
of a shadow amidst shadows unaware of their
shadowiness, keeping going a world where there
were things, more than people. The people
moved sunlit and prosperous, but not enviable,
their secrets revealed at every turn, unaware them-
selves, they made and left a space in which to be
aware. . . .
" I want to say that I think it is kind of you to
let me air my grievances so thoroughly."
" Well, as I say^ I feel extremely uncertain as
to the advisability of this step."
" You needn't " she said rising as he rose, and
going buoyantly to move about in the neighbour-
hood of the scattered results of his last operation,
the symbols of her narrowly rescued continuity.
She was not yet free to touch them. He was still,
wandering about the other part of the room,
lingering with thoughtful bent head in the mazes
of her outrageous halting statements. But a good
deal of his resentment had gone. It was something
outside herself, something in the world at large,
that had forced him to act against his " better
judgment." He was still angry and feeling a little
shorn, faced, in the very presence of the offender,
with the necessity of disposing of the fact that he
had been driven into inconsistency.
Miriam drew a deep sigh, clearing her personal
air of the burden of conflict. Was it an affront ?
It had sounded to her like a song. His thoughts
must be saying, well, there you are, it's all very
well to throw it all off like that. His pose stiffened
into a suggested animation with regard to work
delayed. If only now there could be an opportunity
for one of his humorous remarks so that she could
laugh herself back into their indestructible im-
personal relationship. It was, she thought, pro-
phetically watching his gloriously inevitable re-
covery, partly his unconscious resentment of the
blow she had struck at their good understanding
that had made him so repeatedly declare that if
they started again it must be on a new footing ;
that all possibility of spontaneity between them
had been destroyed.
How could it be, with the events of daily life
perpetually building it afresh ?
THE power of London to obliterate personal
affairs depended upon unlimited freedom to
be still. The worst suffering in the days of un-
certainty had been the thought of movements that
would make time move Now that the
stillness had returned, life was going on, dancing,
flowing, looping out in all directions able to bear
its periods of torment in the strength of its certainty
of recovery, so long as time stayed still. Life
ceased when time moved on. Out in the world life
was ceasing all the time. All the time people were
helplessly doing things that made time move ;
growing up, old people growing onwards, with
death suddenly in sight, rushing here and there
with words that had lost their meaning, dodging and
crouching no matter how ridiculously, to avoid
facing it. Young men died in advance ; it was
visible in their faces, when they took degrees and
sat down to tasks that made time begin to move ;
never again free from its movement, always listen-
ing and looking for the stillness they had lost. . .
But why is the world which produces them so fresh
and real and free, and then seizes and makes them
dead old leaves whirled along by time, so different
to people alone in themselves when time is not
moving ? People in themselves want nothing but
reality. Why can't reality exist in the world ?
All the things that happen produce friction because
they distract people from the reality they are un-
consciously looking for. That is why there are
everywhere torrents of speech. If she had not
read all those old words in the train and had been
silent. Silence is reality. Life ought to be lived
on a basis of silence, where truth blossoms. Why
isn't such an urgent thing known ? Life would
become like the individual ; alive .... it would
show, inside and out, and people would leave off
talking so much. Life does show, seen from far
off, pouring down into stillness. But the contempla-
tion of it, not caring for pain or suffering except
as part of a picture, which no one who is in the
picture can see, seems mean. Old women sitting
in corners, suddenly making irrelevant remarks
and chuckling, see ; they make a stillness of reality,
a mind picture that does not care, out of the rush
of life. Perhaps they do not fear death. Perhaps
people who don't take part don't fear death
the outsider sees most of the game ; but that
means a cynical man who does not care for any-
thing ; body and mind without soul. Lying dead
at last, with reality left unnoticed on his dressing-
table, along the window sill, along the edge of
things outside the window. . . .
But one day in the future time would move, by
itself, not through anything one did, and there
would be no more life. . . . She looked up
hurriedly towards the changing voice. He was no
longer reading with a face that showed his thoughts
wandering far away.
" The thought of death is, throughout life.
entirely absent from the mind of the healthy man."
His brilliant thought filled eyes shone towards her
at the end of the sentence.
" There is indeed a vulgarity in perfect health,"
" Yes," she said hurriedly, carrying off the state-
ment for examination, as peacefully he went on
reading. What did vulgarity mean, or perfect
health ? Nobody knew. Dante ennobled the
vulgar tongue. . . . People went on forever writing
books using the same words with different meanings.
Her eyes returned to the relaxed unconscious form.
He thought too much of books. Yet it did not
appal him to think of giving up his free intellectual
life and taking to work. ' I shall still be an in-
terested amateur.' . . . He would go on reading,
all his life, sitting as he was sitting now, grave and
beautiful ; with a mind outspread in a mental
experience so wide that he was indifferent to the
usual ideas of freedom and advantage. Yet he did
not seem to be aware how much the sitting like
this, linked to the world by its deep echo in the
book, was a realisation of life as he saw it. It did
not occur to him that this serenity, in which was
accumulated all the hours they had passed together,
was realisation, the life of the world in miniature,
making a space where everything in human experi-
ence could emerge like a reflection in deep water,
with its proportions held true and right by the
tranquil opposition of their separate minds. She
summoned onlookers, who instantly recognised
themselves in this picture of leisure. It was in
every life that was not astray in ceaseless movement.
It was the place where everything was atoned. He
fitted placed thus, happy, without problems or
envies, in possession of himself and his memories
in the room where he had voiced them, into the
centre of English life where all turned to good,
in the last fastness of the private English mind
where condemnation could not live. He reinforced
it with a consciousness that was not in the English,
making it show as an idea, revealing in plain terms
their failure to act it out Thus would his
leisure always be. But it was no part of her life.
In this tranquillity there was no security .... we
will always sit like this ; we must, she said within
herself impatiently towards his unconsciousness.
Why did he not perceive the life there was, the
mode of life, in this sitting tranquilly together ?
Was he thinking of nothing but his reading ? She
listened for a moment half carried into the quality
of the text. There was reality there, Spinoza, by
himself, sounding as if the words were being traced
out now, for the first time. One day in a moment
of blankness, she would read it and agree and dis-
agree and carry away some idea and lose and recover
it and go on, losing and recovering, agreeing and
disagreeing. . . .
When he went away her life would be swept clear
of intelligently selected books and the sting of con-
flict with them .... that would not matter ;
perhaps ; books would come, somehow, in the un-
expected way they always did. But it was impossible
to face the ending of these settled tranquil elderly
evenings of peaceful unity, the quiet dark-bearded
form, sitting near, happily engrossed
" Well, what do you think of this ? "
" I haven't been attending. But I will read it
.... some time."
" Ah, it is a pity. But tell me your thoughts at
" Oh, I was thinking of my sisters."
" Ah. You must tell me," and again with un-
relaxed interest he was listening to story after story,
finding strange significances, matter for envy and
deep chuckles of appreciative laughter.
WITH a parting glance at Mr. Shatov's talked-
out indolent vacuity, she plunged, still
waiting in the attitude of conversation, into a
breathless silence. She would make no more talk.
There should be silence between them. If he broke
it, well and good ; in future she would take measures
to curtail the hours of conversation leading, now
that she was at home in possession of the Russian
life and point of view, only to one or other of his
set of quoted opinions, beyond which he refused to
move. If not, the quahty of their silence would
reveal to her what lay behind their unrelaxed capa-
city for association. The silence grew, making more
and more space about her, and still he did not
speak. It was dismantling ; unendurable. With every
moment they both grew smaller and smaller, moving
quickly towards the quenching of all their inter-
change. But there was no doubt now. The ques-
tion was there between them, for equal contempla-
tion. His easy indolence had fled ; his usual pallor
heightened, and he sat regarding her with an un-
hesitating personal gaze. Her determination closed
about him, blocking his way, filling the room. He
must emerge, admit. He must at least see, as she
saw, if it were only the extent of their dependence
on each other. He knew his need. Perhaps she
fulfilled it less than she thought ? Perhaps it was
hers alone His multiplied resources made
hers humiliatingly greater. The shrine of her cur-
rent consciousness stood before her ; the roots of
her only visible future planted for ever within it.
Losing it, she would be left with her burden of being
once more scattered and unhoused.
He rose, bringing her to her feet, and stood before
her ready to go or stay as she should choose, heaping
up before her with an air of gently ironic challenge,
the burden of responsibility ; silently offering her
one of his borrowed summaries, some irrelevant and
philosophic worldly wisdom. But it was what he
felt. There was something he feared. Alone, he
would not have initiated this scene. She faltered,
driven back and disarmed by the shock of an over-
whelming pity unexpected terrible chal-
lenge from within, known to no one, to be accepted
or flouted on her sole eternal responsibility. ... In
a torture of acceptance she pressed through it and
returned remorseless to her place, flooded as she
moved by a sudden knowing of wealth within her-
self now being strangely quarried.
The long moment was ending ; into its void she
saw the seemings of her grown life pass and dis-
appear. His solid motionless form, near and equal
in the twilight, grew faint, towered above her,
immense and invisible in a swift gathering swirling
darkness bringing him nearer than sight or touch.
The edges of things along the margin of her sight
stood for an instant sharply clear and disappeared
leaving her faced only with the swirling darkness
shot now with darting flame. She ceased to care
what thoughts might be occupying him, and exulted
in the marvel. Here already rewarding her insist-
ence, was payment in royal coin. She was at last,
in person, on a known highway, as others, knowing
truth alive. She stared expostulation as she recog-
nised the celebrated nature of her experience, hear-
ing her own famiHar voice as on a journey, in amazed
expostulation at the absence everywhere of simple
expression of the quality of the state a
voyage, swift and transforming, a sense of passing
in the midst of this marvel of flame-ht darkness, out
of the world in glad sohtary confidence with wildly,
calmly. beating morning heart.
' The encircling darkness grew still, spread wide
about her ; the moving flames drew together to a
single glowing core. The sense of his presence re-
turned in might. The rosy-hearted core of flame
was within him, within the invisible substance of his
breast. Tenderly transforming his intangible ex-
pansion to the famiHar image of the man who knew
her thoughts she moved to find him and marvel with
His voice budded gently, but with the same
quahty that had flung her back soHd and alone into
the cold gloom.
" We must consider "... what did he think had
happened ? He had kissed a foreign woman. Who
did he think was hearing him ?...." what you
would do under certain circumstances." The last
words came trembling, and he sat down clearly
visible in the restored blue twilight ; waiting with
willing permanence for her words.
" I should do nothing at all, under any circum-
" Do not forget that I am Jew."
Looking at him with the eyes of her friends
Miriam saw the Russian, standing free, beyond
Europe, from the stigma of " foreigner." Many
people would think, as she had in the beginning,
that he was an intellectual Frenchman, different to
the usual " Frenchman " ; a big-minded cosmo-
politan at any rate ; a proud possession. The mys-
terious fact of Jewishness could remain in the
background the hidden flaw ... as there
was always a hidden flaw in all her possessions. To
her, and to her adventure, its first step now so far
away, an accepted misery powerless to arrest the
swift rush of the transforming moments, it need
make no difl^erence.
" Perhaps it shall be better I should go away."
Where ? Into the world of people, who would
seem to him not different to herself, see his marvel-
lous surrendered charm, catch him, without knowing
who or what he was. Who else could know " Mr.
Shatov " ?
" Do you want to go away ? "
" I do not. But it must be with you to decide."
" I don't see why you should go awayP
" Then I shall stay. And we shall see."
The summer lay ahead, unaltered ; the threat of
change gone from their intercourse. To-morrow
they would take up life again with a stability ; years
at their disposal. The need for the moment was to
have him out of sight, kill the past hour and return
to the idea of him, already keeping her standing,
with relaxed power of attention to his little actual
pitiful obstructive form, in an independent glow, an
easy wealth of assurance towards life whose throng-
ing images, mysteries of cities and crowds, single
fixed groups of known places and inexorable people
were alight and welcoming with the sense of him.
She bade him a gentle good-night and reached her
room, unpursued by thought, getting to bed in a
trance of suspension, her own life left behind,
facades of life set all about her, claiming in vain for
troubled attention, and sank at once into a deep
Putting on her outdoor things next morning, left
in the drawing-room while she snatched her break-
fast, she was immensely embarrassed to find him
standing silently near. The woman facing her in
the mirror as she put on her hat was the lonely
Miriam Henderson, unendurably asked to behave in
the special way. For he was standing eloquently
silent and the hands arranging her hat trembled
reassuringly. But what was she to do ? How turn
and face him and get back through the room and
away to examine alone the surprises of being in love ?
Her image was disconcerting, her clothes and the act
of rushing off to tiresomely engrossing work in-
appropriate. It was paralysing to be seen by him
struggling with a tie. The vivid colour that rushed
to her cheeks turned her from the betraying mirror
to the worse betrayal of his gaze. But it was enough
for the moment, which she faced out, downcast, yet
joyful in giving what belonged to his grave eyes.
" We cannot be as boy and girl " he said gently,
" but we may be very happy."
Overwhelmed with the sense of inadequate youth
Miriam stared at his thought. A fragment of con-
versation flashed into her mind. Jewish girls mar-
ried at eighteen, or never. At twenty-one they were
old maids He was waiting for some sign.
Her limbs were powerless. With an immense effort
she stretched forth an enormous arm and with a
hand frightful in its size and clumsiness, tapped him
on the shoulder. It was as if she had knocked him
down, the blow she had given resounding through
the world. He bent to catch at her retreating hand
with the attitude of carrying it to his lips, but she
was away down the room, her breath caught by a
little gurgle of unknown laughter.
He was at the end of the street in the evening,
standing bright in the golden light with a rose in
his hand. For a swift moment, coming down the
shaded street towards the open light she denied him,
and the rose. He had bought a rose from some
flower-woman's basket, an appropriate act suggested
by his thoughts. But his silent, most surrendered,
most child-like gesture of offering, his man's eyes
grave upon the rose for her, beneath uplifted child-
like plaintive brows, went to her heart, and with the
passing of the flower into her hand, the gold of the
sunlight, the magic shifting gleam that had lain
always day and night, yearlong in tranquil moments
upon every visible and imagined thing, came at last
into her very hold. It had been love then, all along.
Love was the secret of things.
They wandered silently, apart, along the golden-
gleaming street. She listened, amidst the far-off
sounds about them, to the hush of the great space
in which they walked, where voices, breaking
silently in from the talk of the world, spoke for her,
bringing out, to grow and expand in the sunlight,
the thoughts that lay in her heart. They had
passed the park, forgetting it, and were enclosed in
the dust-strewn narrowness of the Euston Road.
But the dust grains were golden, and her downcast
eyes saw everywhere, if she should raise them, the
gleam of roses flowering on the air, and when, their
way coming too soon towards its familiar end, they
turned, with slow feet, down a little alley, dark with
voices, the dingy house-fronts gleamed golden about
her, the narrow strip of sky opened to an immensity
of smiling spacious blue, and she still saw, just ahead
the gleam of flowers and heard on a breath purer
than the air of the open country, the bright sound
of distant water.
FOR many days they spent their leisure
wandering in the green spaces of London,
restored to Miriam with the frail dream-like wonder
they had held in her years of solitude, deepened to
a perpetual morning brightness. She recalled, in the
hushed reconciliation of the present, while they saw
and thought in unison, breaking their long silences
with anecdotes, re-living together all they could
remember of childhood, their long exhausting,
thought-transforming controversies. And as her
thoughts had been, so now, in these same green
places were her memories transformed.
She watched, wondering, while elderly relatives,
hated and banished, standing, forgotten like past
nightmares, far away from her independent London
life, but still powerful in memory to strike horror
into her world, came forth anew, food as she breath-
lessly spoke their names and described them, for
endless speculation. With her efforts to make him
see and know them, they grew alive in her hands,
significant and attractive as the present, irrecover-
able, gone, lonely and pitiful, conquered by her own
triumphant existence in a different world, free from
obstructions, accompanied, understood. Between
the movements of conversation from figure to figure,
a thread of reflection wove itself in continuous
repetition. Perhaps to all these people, life had once
looked free and developing. Perhaps, if she went
their way, she might yet share their fate. Never.
She was mistress of her fate ; there was endless time.
The world was changed. They had never known
freedom or the endlessness of the passing moment.
Time for them had been nothing but the con-
tinuous pressure of fixed circumstances.
Distant parts of London, whither they wandered
far through unseen streets, became richly familiar,
opening, when suddenly they would realise that
they were lost, on some scene, stamped as unfor-
-gettably as the magic scenes of holiday excursions.
They lingered in long contemplation of all kinds
of shop windows, his patient unmoved good-humour
while she realised his comparative lack of tastes
and preferences, and held forth at length on the
difference between style and quality, and the
products of the markets, his serene effrontery in
taking refuge at last behind the quaintest little
tales, satirical, but dreadfully true and illuminating,
disarmed her impatience and sent her forward in
laughter. He seemed to have an endless supply of
these little tales, and told them well, without
emphasis, but each one a little drama, perfectly
shaped and staged. She collected and remembered
and pondered them, the light they shed on unfamiliar
aspects of life, playing comfortingly over the future.
If Judges and Generals and Emperors and all sorts
of people fixed and labelled in social life were really
absurd, then social life, with him, might be not
merely unaffrighting, but also amusing. At the
same time she was affronted by his inclusion of
English society in his satirical references. There
were, she was sure, hidden and active, in all ranks
in England, a greater proportion of people than in
any country of his acquaintance, who stood outside
She avoided the house, returning only when the
hour justified a swift retreat from the hall to her
room ; escape from the dimly-lit privacy of the
deserted drawing-room. Not again could she
suffer his nearness, until the foreigner in him,
dipped every day more deeply into the well of English
feeling, should be changed. When she was alone,
she moved, thoughtless, along a pathway that led
backwards towards a single memory. Far away
in the distance, coming always nearer, was the
summer morning of her infancy, a permanent
standing arrested, level with the brilliance of
flower-heads motionless in the sunlit air ; no move-
ment but the hovering of bees. Beyond this
memory towards which she passed every day more
surely, a marvellous scene unfolded. And always
with the unfolding of its wide prospects, there came
a beautifying breath. The surprise of her growing
comeliness was tempered by a sudden curious
indifference. These new looks of hers were not her
own. They brought a strange publicity. She felt,
turned upon her, the welcoming, approving eyes
of women she had contemptuously neglected, and
upon her own face the dawning reflection of their
wise, so irritating smile. She recognised them, half
fearfully, for they alone were the company gathered
about her as she watched the opening marvel.
She recognised them for lonely wanderers upon the
earth. They, these women, then were the only
people who knezu. Their smile was the smile o£
these wide vistas, wrought and shaped, held back
by the pity they turned towards the blind life of
men ; but it was alone in its vision of the spaces
opening beyond the world of daily Hfe.
The open scene, that seemed at once without
her and within, beckoned and claimed her, extend-
ing for ever, without horizons, bringing to her
contemplating eye a moving expansion of sight
ahead and ahead, earth and sky left behind, across
flower-spread plains whose light was purer and
brighter than the light of day. Here was the path
of advance. But pursuing it she must be always
alone ; supported in the turmoil of life that drove
the haunting scene away, hidden beyond the hard
visible horizon, by the remembered signs and
smiles of these far-off lonely women.
Between them and their second week stood a
promised visit to the Brooms ; offering itself
each time she surveyed it, under a different guise.
But when, for their last evening together, he sur-
prised her, so little did he ever seem to plan or
reflect, with stall tickets for the opera she was
overwhelmed by the swift regardless pressure of
events. Opera, for ever outside her means and
forgotten, descending thus suddenly upon her
v^dthout space for preparation of mind, would seem
to be wasted. Not in such unseemly haste could
she approach this crowning ornament of social life.
She was speechless, too, before the revelation of his
private ponderings. She knew he was indifferent,
even to the theatre, and that he could not afford
this tremendous outlay. His recklessness was
selfless ; a great planning for her utmost recreation.
In her satisfaction he was to be content. Touched
to the heart she tried to express her sense of all
these things, much hampered by the dismayed
anticipation of failure, on the great evening, to
produce any satisfying response. She knew she
would dislike opera ; fat people, with huge voices,
screaming against an orchestra, in the pretence of
expressing emotions they had never felt. But he
assured her that opera was very beautiful, Faust
perhaps the most beautiful and charming of all,
and drew her attention to the massed voices. To
this idea she clung, in the interval, for enlighten-
But after spending all her available funds on an
evening blouse and borrowing a cloak from Jan
she found herself at the large theatre impressed only
by the collected mass of the audience. The sense of
being small and alone, accentuated by the presence
of little Mr. Shatov, neatly in evening dress at her
side, persisted, growing, until the curtain rose.
So long as they had wandered about London and
sat together in small restaurants, the world had
seemed grouped about them, the vast ignored
spectator of a strange romance. But in this huge
enclosure, their small, unnoticed, unquestioned
presences seemed challenged to account for them-
selves. All these unmoved people, making the
shut-in air cold with their unconcern, even when
they were hushed with the strange appealing music
of the overture, were moving with purpose and
direction because of their immense unconsciousness.
Where were they going ? What was it all about ?
What, she asked herself, with a crowning pang of
desolation, as the curtain went relentlessly up, were
he and she to be or do in this world ? What would
they become, committed, identified, two small
desolate, helpless figures, with the crowding mass
of unconscious life ?
" I find something of grandeur in the sober
dignity of this apartment. It is mediaeval Germany
at its best."
, " It is very dark."
" Wait, wait. You shall see life and sunshine,
all in the most beautiful music."
The sombre scene offered the consolation,
suddenly insufficient, that she had found in the past
in sliding idly into novels, the restful sense of
vicarious life. She had heard of a wonderful
philosophy in Faust, and wondered at Mr. Shatov's
claim for its charm. But there was, she felt, no
space, on the stage, for philosophy. The scene would
change, there was " charm " and sunshine and music
ahead. This scene itself was changing as she watched.
The old man talking to himself was less full of
meaning than the wonderful German interior, the
pointed stonework and high, stained windows, the
carved chairs and rich old manuscripts. Even as he
talked, the light from the night-sky, pouring down
outside on a beautiful old German town, was
coming in. And presently there would be daylight
scenes. The real meaning of it all was scenes, each
with their separate, rich, silent significance. The
scenes were the story, the translation of the people
the actual picture of them as they were by them-
selves behind all the pother She set herself,
drifting in solitude away from the complications
of the present, to watch Germany. The arrival
of Mephistopheles was an annoying distraction
suggesting pantomine. His part in the drama was
obscured by Mr. Shatov's whispered eulogies of
Chaliapin, " the only true A4ephistopheles in
Europe." It certainly seemed right that the devil
should have] " a most profound bass voice." The
chanting of angels in Paradise, she suggested, could
only be imagined in high clear soprano, whereat
he maintained that women's voices unsupported
by the voices of men were not worth imagining
" Pippa passes. It is a matter of opinion."
" It is a matter of fact. These voices are
without depth of foundation. What is this
Pippa ? "
" And yet you think that women can rise higher,
and fall lower, than men."
She walked home amidst the procession of
scenes, grouped and blending all about her, free of
their bondage to any thread of story, bathed in
music, beginning their life in her as memory, set
up for ever amongst her store of realities. It had
been a wonderful evening, opera was wonderful.
But the whole effect was threatened, as it stood so
lovely all about her in the night air, by his insistence
upon a personal interpretation, surprising her in
the midst of the garden scene and renewed now as
they walked, by little attempts to accentuate the
relationship o£ their Hnked arms. Once more she
held off the threatened obliteration. But the
scenes had retreated, far away beyond the darkness
and light of the visible street. With sudden com-
punction she felt that it was she who had driven
them away, driven away the wonders that were after
all his gift. If she had softened towards him, they
would have gone, just the same. ... It was too
soon to let them work as an influence.
Absurd, too, to try to invent life which did not
come of itself. He had desisted and was away,
fallen into his thoughtful forgetful singing, brum-
ming out shreds of melody that brought single
scenes vividly penetrating the darkness. She called
him back with a busy repentance, carelessly selecting
from her thronging impressions a remark that in-
stantly seemed meaningless.
" Yes " he said heartily, " there is, absolutely,
something echt, kern-gesund about these old-
That was it. It had all meant, really, the same
for him ; and he knew what it was that made the
charm ; admitting it, in spite of his strange deep
dislike of the Germans. Kern-Gesundheit was not
a sufficient explanation. But the certainty of his
having been within the charm made him real, a
related part of the pageant of life, his personal
engaging small attribute her own undivided share.
On the doorstep, side by side with his renewed
silent appeal, she turned and met, standing free,
his gentle tremulous salutation.
For a moment the dark silent house blazed into
light before her, She moved forward, as he opened
the door, as into a brightness of hght where she
should stand visible to them both, in a simplicity
of golden womanhood, no longer herself, but his
Marguerite, yet so differently fated, so differently
identified with him in his new simplicity, going
forward together, his thoughts and visions as simple
as her own in the life now just begun, from which
their past dropped away grey and cold, the irrelevant
experience of strangers.
But the hall was dark and the open dining-room
door showed blank darkness. She led the way in ;
she could not yet part from him and lose the strange
radiance surrounding herself. They ought to go
forward now, together, from this moment, shedding
a radiance. To part was to break and mar, forever,
some essential irrecoverable glory. They sat side
by side on the sofa by the window. The radiance
in which she sat crowned, a figure visible to herself,
recognisable, humble and proud and simple, back
in its Christian origin, a single weak small figure,
transfixed with light, dreadfully trusted with the
searing, brightly gleaming dower of Christian
womanhood, was surrounded by a darkness unpene-
trated by the faint radiance the high street lamps
must be sending through the thick lace curtains.
This she thought is what people mean by the golden
dream ; but it is not a dream. No one who has
been inside it can ever be the same again or quite
get out. The world it shows is the biggest world
there is. It is outer space where God is and Christ
waits. " I am very happy, do you feel happy ? "
The small far-off man's voice sounded out, lost the
impenetrable darkness. Yet it was through him,
through some essential quahty in him that she had
reached this haven and starting place, he who had
brought this smiting descent of certainties which
were to carry her on her voyage into the unknown
darkness, and since he could not see her smile, she
" I think so," she said gently. She must, she
suddenly realised, never tell him more than that.
His happiness was, she now recognised, hearing his
voice, different to hers. To admit and acclaim her
own would be the betrayal of a secret trust. If
she could dare to lay her hand upon him, he might
know. But they were too separate. And if he were
to touch her now, they would again be separated
for longer than before, for always. '' Good-
night," she said, brushing his sleeve with the tips
of her fingers, " dear, funny little man."
He followed her closely but she was soon away
up the familiar stairs in the darkness, in her small
close room, and trying to chide herself for her
inadequate response, while within the stifling air
the breath of sunlit open spaces moved about
But in the morning when the way to King's Cross
Station was an avenue of sunlight, under a blue
sky triumphant with the pealing of church bells, his
sole conversation was an attempt to induce her to
reproduce the epithet. The small scrap of friendli-
ness had made him happy ! No one, it seemed, had
ever so addressed him. His delight was all her own.
She was overcome by the revelation of her power
to bless without effort. The afternoon's visit now
seemed a welcome interval in the too swift succession
of discoveries. In the cool noisy shelter of the
station, Sunday holiday-makers were all about them.
He was still charmingly preening himself, set off
by the small busy crowd, his eye wandering with
its familiar look, a childlike contemplation of the
English spectacle. To Miriam's unwilling glance
it seemed for observation a fruitless field ; nothing
exhibited there could challenge speculation.
On each face, so naively engrossed with immediate
arranged circumstance, character, opinion, social
conditions, all that might be expected under the
small tests of small circumstances, was plainly
written in monotonous reiteration. Moving and
going, they could go, with all their busy eagerness,
no further than themselves. At their destinations
other similar selves awaited them, to meet and send
them back, unchanged ; an endless circling. Over
their unchanging, unquestioned world, no mystery
brooded with black or golden wings. They would
circle unsurprised until for each one came the
surprise of death. It was all they had. They were
dreadful to contemplate because they suggested
only death, unpondered death. Her eye rested for
relief upon a barefooted newspaper boy running
freely about with his cry, darting head down
towards a shouted challenge.
" Before you go " Mr. Shatov was saying. She
turned towards his suddenly changed voice, saw his
pale face, grave, and working with the determina-
tion to difficult speech ; saw him, while she stood
listening to the few tense phrases in painful admira-
tion of his courage, horribly transformed, by the
images he evoked far away, immovable in the sun-
shine of his earlier days. The very trembling of his
voice had attested the agonising power of his com-
munication. Yet behind it all, with what a calm-
ness of his inner mind, had he told her, now, only
now, when they were set in the bright amber of so
many days, that he had been lost to her, forever,
long ago in his independent past. The train was
drawing in. She turned away speechless.
" Miriam, Miriam " he pleaded in hurried shaken
tones close at her side, " remember, I did not know
that you would come."
" Well, I must go," she said briskly, the words
sounding out to her like ghostly hammer-blows
upon empty space. Never again should her voice
sound. The movement of getting into the train
brought a nerve-crisping relief. She had taken
the first step into the featureless darkness where,
alone, she was to wait, in a merciful silence,
" I shall meet you this evening," said his raised
voice from the platform. He stood with bowed
head, his eyes gravely on her unconsidering gaze,
until the train moved out. She set her teeth
against the slow movement of the wheels, grinding
it seemed, smoke-befouled, deliberate, with awful
circling relentlessness over her prostrate body,
clenched together for the pang, too numb to feel it
if only it would come, but left untouched.
The crushing of full realisation, piling up behind
her numbness, must pass over her. There was not
much time. The train was carrying her steadily
onward, and towards conversation with the un-
conscious Brooms. She tried to relax to its move-
ment, to hold back from the entanglements of
thought and regard the day as an interval outside
the hurrying procession of her life. A way opened
narrowly ahead, attainable by one rending effort,
into a silence, within which the grey light filtering
through the dingy windows on to the grime-greyed
floor offered itself with a promise of reassurance.
It was known to her ; by its unvexed communion
with her old self. One free breath of escape from
the visions she was holding clutched for inspection,
and herself would be given back to her. This awful
journey would change to an eternity following
serenely on a forgotten masquerade. She would not
lose her knowing that all solitary journeys go on
forever, waiting through intervals, to renew them-
selves. But the effort, even if she could endure the
pain of it, would be treachery until she had known
and seen without reservations the whole meaning of
the immovable fact. The agony within her must
mean that somewhere behind the mere statements,
if she could but get through and discover it, there
must be a revelation that would set the world going
again ; bring back the vanquished sunlight. Mean-
while life must pause, humanity must stay hushed
and waiting while she thought. A grey-shod foot
appeared on her small empty patch of floor. With
the fever of pain that flooded her she realised that
she could go neither forward nor back. Life pinned
her motionless, in pain. Her eye ran up and found
the dreaming face of a girl ; the soft fresh linea-
ments of childhood, shaped to a partial awareness by
some fixed daily toil, but still, on all she saw, the
gleamj^she did not know could disappear, did not
recognise for what it was, priceless and enough.
She would never recognise it. She was one of those
women men wrap in lies, persisting unchanged
through life, revered and yet odious in the kindly
stupidity of thoughts fixed immovably on unreality,
the gleam gone, she knew not why, and yet avenged
by her awful unconscious production of the kind of
social life to which men were tied, compelled to
simulate life in her obstinate, smiling fool's ....
hell. The rest of the people in the carriage were
aware, in the thick of conscious deceits ; playing
parts. The women, strained and defaced, all
masked watchfulness, cut off from themselves,
weaving romances in their efforts to get back, the
men betraying their delight in their hidden oppor-
tunities of escape by the animation behind the
voice and manners they assumed for the fixed
calculable periods of forced association ; ready
to distract attention from themselves and their
hidden treasures by public argument, if accident
should bring it about, over anything and every-
At least she saw. But what was the use of not
being deceived ? How in the vast spread of
humanity expose the sham ? How escape, without
surrendering life itself, treacherous countenancing of
the fiendish spectacle ? What good would death do ?
What did " Eine fur Viele " do ? Brought home
the truth to one man, who probably after the first
shock, soon came to the conclusion that she had
She talked through lunch to the Brooms with
such an intensity of animation that when at last the
confrontation was at an end and the afternoon
begun in the shelter of the dim Httle drawing-room,
she found Grace and Florrie grouped closely about
her, wrapped and eager for more. She turned, at
bay, explaining in shaken unmeditated words that
the afternoon must be spent by her in thinking out
a frightful problem, and relapsed, averted swiftly
from their sensitive faces, suddenly pale about eyes
that reflected her distress, towards the open door
of the little greenhouse leading miserably into the
stricken garden. They remained motionless in the
chairs they had drawn close to the little settee
where she sat enthroned, clearly prepared so to sit
in silent sympathy while she gazed at her problem
in the garden. She sat tense, but with their eyes
upon her she could not summon directly the items
of her theme. They appeared transformed in words,
a statement of the case that might be made to them,
' anyone's ' statement of the case, beginning with
" after all " ; and leaving everything unstated.
Applied to her own experience they seemed to have
no meaning at all. Summaries were no good.
Actual experience must be brought home to make
anything worth communicating. " When he first
kissed me " started her mind " those women were
all about him. They have come between us for-
ever." She flushed towards the garden. The mere
presence in her mind of such vileness was an
outrage on the Broom atmosphere. She could not
again face the girls. For some time she sat, driving
from point to point in the garden the inexorable
fact that she had reached a barrier she could not
break down. She could, if she were alone, face the
possibility of dashing her life out against it. If she
were to turn back from it, she would be rent in
twain, and how then, base and deformed could she
find spirit to face anyone at all ? At last, still with
her eyes on the garden, she told them, she must go
and think in the open air. They cherished and
indulged her in their unaltered way and she escaped,
exempted from coming back to tea.
Suppose, said the innumerable voices of the road,
as she wandered down it relieved and eager in the
first moments of freedom, he had not told you ?
It was sincere and fine of him to tell. Not at all.
He wanted to have an easy mind. He has only
explained what it was that came between us at the
first, and has been waiting ever since to be there
again. . . .
" Remember ; I did not k?iozu you would come."
Why did men not know ? That was the strange
thing. Why did they make their first impressions of
women such as would sully everything that came
after ? That was the extraordinary thing about the
average man and many men who were not average
at all. Why ?
The answer must be there if she could only get
through to it. Some immovable answer. The
wrong one perhaps, but sufficient to frame an
irreversible judgment. There was an irreversible
judgment at the heart of it all that would remain,
even if further fuller truer reasons were reached
later on. Anything that could take the life out of
the sunlight was wrong. Every twist and turn of
the many little side roads along which she made
her way told her that. It was useless to try
to run away from it. It remained, the only point
of return from the wilderness of anger into which
with every fresh attempt at thought, she was
immediately flung. The more angry she grew the
further she seemed to move from the possibility
of finding and somehow expressing, in words that
had not sounded in her mind before, the clue to her
She reached the park at tea-time. Its vistas were
mercifully empty. She breathed more freely
within its greenery. Hidden somewhere here, was
relief for the increasing numbness of her brain and
the drag of her aching heart. The widening sky
understood and -v^ould presently, when she had
reached the statement that lay now, just ahead,
offer itself in the old way, for companionship.
Wandering along a little path that wound in and
out of a thicket of shrubs, she heard a subdued
rumble of voices and came in a moment upon two
men, bent-headed in conversation side by side on a
secluded seat. They looked up at her and upon their
shiny German faces, and in the cold rheumy blue
eyes beneath their unconscious intelligent German
foreheads, was the horrible leer of their talk.
Looking up from it, scanning her in the spirit of
the images of life they had evoked in their seques-
trated confidential interchange, they identified her
with their vision. She turned back towards the
wide empty avenues. But there was no refuge in
them. Their bleak emptiness reflected the thought-
less lives of English men. Behind her the two
Germans were immovably there, hemming her in.
They were the answer. Sitting hidden there, in the
English park, they were the whole unconscious male
mind of Europe surprised unmasked. Thought out
and systematised by them, openly discussed, with-
out the cloudy reservations of Englishmen, was the
whole masculine sense of womanhood. One image ;
perceived only with the body, separated and apart
from everything else in life. Men were mind and
body, separated mind and body, looking out at
v/omen, below their unconscious men's brows,
variously moulded and sanctified by thought, with
one unvarying eye. There was no escape from its
horrible blindness, no other life in the world to
live . . . , the leer of a prostitute was ....
reserved .... beautiful, suggesting a daily life
lived independently amongst the impersonal
marvels of existence, compared to the headlong
desirous look of a man. The greed of men was
something much more awful than the greed of a
prostitute. She used her last strength to wrench
herself away from the hopeless spectacle and
wandered impatient and thoughtless in a feverish
void. Far away from this barren north London,
the chosen perfect stage for the last completion of
a misery as wide at the world, was her own dream
world at home in her room, her strange unfailing
self, the lovely world of lovely things seen in silence
and tranquillity, the coming and going of the light,
the myriad indescribable things of which day and
night, in solitude, were full, at every moment ; the
marvellous forgetfulness of sleep, followed by the
smiling renewal of inexhaustible sameness ....
thought flashed in, stabbing her weakness with the
reminder that solitude had failed and - from its
failure she had been saved by the companionship of
a man ; of whom until to-day she had been proud
in a world lit by the glory and pride of achieved
companionships. But it was an illusion, fading and
failing more swiftly than the real things of solitude
there was no release save in madness ; a
suddenly descending merciful madness, blotting
everything out. She imagined herself raging and
raving through the park, through the world,
attacking the indifferent sky at last with some final
outbreaking statement, something, somewhere with-
in her she must say, or die. She gazed defiance
upwards at the cloudless blue. The distant trees
flattened themselves into dark clumps against the
horizon. Swiftly she brought her eyes back to the
diminishing earth. Something must be said ; not
to the sky, but in the world. She grew impatient
for Mr. Shatov's arrival. If only she could convey
to him all that was in her mind, going back again
and again endlessly to some central unanswerable
assertion, the truth would be out. Stated. At
least one man brought to book, arrested and
illuminated. But what was it ? That men are not
worthy of women. He would agree, and remain
pleading. That men never have, never can, under-
stand the least thing about even the worst woman
in the world ? He would find things to say. She
plunged back groping for weapons of statement,
amongst the fixities of the world, there from the
beginning, and pressing at last with their mocking
accomplishment, against her small thread of exist-
ence. Long grappling in darkness against the
inexorable images, she fell back at last upon word-
less repudiation, and again the gulf of isolation
opened before her. The struggle was not to be
borne. It was monstrous, unforgivable, that it
should be demanded of her. Yet it could not be
given up. The smallest glance in the direction of
even the simulation of acceptance, brought a panic
sense of treachery that flung her back to cling once
more to the vanishing securities of her own un-
When at last he appeared, the sight of the
familiar distinctive little figure plunging ener-
getically along, beard first, through the north
London Sunday evening crowd drifting about the
park gates, their sounds quenched by the blare of
the Salvation Army's band marching townwards
along the battered road, for one strange moment
while a moving light came across the gravel path-
way at her feet, decking its shabby fringe of grass
with the dewy freshness of some remembered world
far away and unknown to this trampling blind
north London, she asked herself what all the
trouble was about. What after all had changed ?
Not herself, that was clear. Walking in fevered
darkness had not destroyed the light. But he had
joined her, pulling up before her with white
ravaged face and hands stretched silently towards
" For pity's sake don't touch me," she cried
involuntarily and walked on, accompanied, examin-
ing her outcry. It was right. It had a secret
knowledge. They rode in silence on tram and bus.
Below them on the dimly-lit pavements people
moved, shadows broken loose and scattered in the
grey of night. Gaslit, talking faces succeeded each
other under the street lamps ; not one speaking its
thoughts ; no feeling expressed that went even as
deep as the screening chatter of words in the mind.
But presently all about her, as she sat poised for
the length of the journey between the dead stillness
within her and the noise of the silence without, a
world most wonderful was dawning with strange
irrelevance, forcing her attention to lift itself from
the abyss of her fatigue. Look at us, the buildings
seemed to say, sweeping by massed and various and
whole, spangled with light. We are here. We,
are the accomplished marvel. Buildings had always
seemed marvellous ; and in their moving, changing
aspects an endless fascination, except in North
London, where they huddled without distinction,
defaced in feature and outline by a featureless
blind occupancy. But to-night, it was North
London that was revealing the marvel of the mere
existence of a building. North Londoners were not
under the spell ; but it was there. Their buildings
rising out of the earth where once there had been
nothing, proclaimed it as they swept dreaming by,
making roadways that were like long thoughts,
meeting and crossing and going on and on, deep
alleyways and little courts where always was a pool
of light or darkness, pouring down from their
secret communion with the sky a strange single
reality upon the clothed and trooping multitude
below. And all the strange unnoticed marvel of
buildings and clothes, the even more marvellously
strange unnoticed clothing of speech, all existing
alone and independent outside the small existence
of single lives and yet proclaiming them an
exclamation of wonder rose to her lips, and fell
back checked, by the remembered occasion, to
which for an instant she returned as a stranger
seeing the two figures side by side chained in
suspended explanations that would not set them
free, and left her gazing again, surrendered, address-
ing herself with a deepening ease of heart to the
endless friendly strength flowing from things
unconsciously brought about. It brought a balm
that lulled her almost to sleep, so that when
at last their journey was at an end she found
hjerself wordless and adrift in a tiresome pain, that
must be removed only because it blotted out
He began at once, standing before her, relating in
simple unbroken speech the story of his student
days, without pleading or extenuation ; waiting at
the end for her judgment.
" And that first photograph that I liked, was
before ; and the other, after."
" That is so."
" In the first there is someone looking out through
the eyes ; in the other that someone has moved
" That is so. I agree."
" Well, can't you see ? Never to come back.
Never to come back."
" Miriam. Remember I am no more than man.
I was in suffering and in ignorance. It would have
been better otherwise. I agree with you. But that
is all past. I am no more that man."
" Can't you see that there is no past ? "
" I confess I do not understand this."
" It is crowding all round you. I felt it. Don't
you remember ? Before I knew. It comes between
us all the time. I know now. It's not an idea ; or
prudishness. It's more solid than the space of air
between us. I can't get through it."
" Remember I was suffering and alone.''^ Some-
where within the vibrating tones was the careless
shouting of his boyhood ; that past was there too ;
and the eager lifting voice of his earlier student
days, still sometimes alive in the reverie of his lifted
singing brows. The voice had been quelled. In his
memory as he stood there before her was pain,
young lonely pain. Within the life thrown open
without reservation to her gaze, she saw, con-
fronting her determination to make him suffer, the
image of unhealed suffering, still there, half
stifled by his blind obedience to worldly ignorant
advice, but waiting for the moment to step forward
and lay its burden upon her own unwilling heart,
leaving him healed and free. Tears sprang to her
eyes, blotting him out, and with them she sprang
forth into a pathless darkness, conscious far away
behind her, soon to be obliterated on the unknown
shores opening ahead, but there gladly in hand, of a
debt, signed and to be honoured even against her
will, by life, surprised once more at this darkest
moment, smiling at her secretly, behind all she
could gather of opposing reason and clamourous
protests of unworthiness. " Poor boy " she gasped,
gathering him as he sank to his knees, with swift
enveloping hands against her breast. The unknown
woman sat alone, with eyes wide open towards the
empty air above his hidden face. This was man ;
leaning upon her with his burden of loneliness, at
home and comforted. This was the truth behind
the image of woman supported by man. The
strong companion was a child seeking shelter ; the
woman's share an awful loneliness. It was not
She moved to raise and restore him, at least to
the semblance of a supporting presence. But with
a sudden movement he bent and caught a fold of
her dress to his lips. She rose with a cry of protest,
urging him to his feet.
" I know now," he said simply, " why men kneel
to women." While in her heart she thanked
heaven for preserving her to that hour, the dreadful
words, invested her in yet another loneliness. She
seemed to stand tall and alone, isolated for a moment
from her solid surroundings, within a spiral of
" No one ought to kneel to anyone," she lied in
pity, and moved out restlessly into the room. We
are real. As others have been real. There is a
sacred bond between us now, ratified by all human
experience. But oh the cost and the demand. It
was as if she were carrying in her hands something
that could be kept safe only by a life-long silence.
Everything she did and said in future must hide the
sacred trust. It gave a freedom ; but not of speech
or thought. It left the careless dreaming self
behind. Only in ceaseless occupation could it
hold its way. Its only confidant would be God.
Holding to it, everything in life, even difficulties,
would be transparent. But seen from the outside.
by the world, an awful mysteriously persistent
commonplace. It was not fair that men did not
know the whole of this secret place and its compact.
Why was God in league only with women ?
IT'S not altogether personal Until it is
understood and admitted, there is a darkness
everywhere. The life of every man in existence, who
does not understand and admit it, is perfectly sense-
less. Until they know they are all living in vain.
- " What on earth did you mean ? " she said as soon
as the omnibus had started.
He turned a startled musing face. He had for-
" What have I said ? "
" Kindly think."
" Really I am at a loss."
" When that woman collided with me, crossing
" Ah, ah, I remember. Well ? "
" You pronounced an opinion."
" It is not my opinion. It is a matter of ascer-
" Facts are invented by people who start with
their conclusions arranged beforehand."
" Perhaps so."
" Ah well ; that is an admission."
" The conclusion is amply verified."
" Where ? "
" I speak only of women in the mass. There are
of course exceptions."
" Go on, go on."
" I see you are annoyed. Let us leave this
" Kindly go on."
" There is nothing more to say." He laughed.
He was not even being aware that it was a matter
of life and death. He could go on serenely living in
an idea, that turned life into a nightmare.
" Oh if it amuses you." He was silent. The
moments went beating on. She turned from him
and sat averted. She would go now onward and on-
ward till she could get away over the edge of the
world. There was nothing else to do. There were
no thoughts or words in which her conviction could
take shape. Even looking for them was a degrada-
tion. Besides, argument, if she could steady herself
to face the pain of it, would not, whatever he might
say, even dislodge his satisfied unconcern. He was
uneasy ; but only about herself, and would accept
reassurance from her, without a single backward
glance. But what did their personal fate matter be-
side a question so all-embracing ? What future
could they have in unacknowledged disagreement
over central truth ? And if it were acknowledged,
what peace ?
The long corridor of London imprisoned her.
Far away beneath her tumult it was making its
appeal, renewing the immortal compact. The
irregular facades, dull greys absorbing the light,
bright buffs throwing it brilliantly out, dadoed
below with a patchwork of shops, and overhead the
criss-cross of telephone wires, shut her away from
the low-hung soft grey sky. But far away, unfailing,
retreating as the long corridor telescoped towards
them, an obliterating saffron haze filled the vista,
holding her in her place.
The end of the journey brought them to grey-
streets and winding alleys where the masts and rig-
ging that had loomed suddenly in the distance,
robbing the expedition of its promise of ending in
some strange remoteness with their suggestion of
blind busy worlds beyond London, were lost to
" This must be the docks," she said politely.
With the curt permission of a sentinel policeman
tliey went through a gateway appearing suddenly
before them in a high grey wall. Miriam hurried
forward to meet the open scene for one moment
alone and found herself on a little quay surrounding
a square basin of motionless grey water shut in by
wooden galleries, stacked with mouldering casks.
But the air was the air that moves softly on still days
over wide waters and in the shadowed light of the
enclosure, the fringe of green where the water
touched the grey stone of the quay gleamed bril-
liantly in the stillness. She breathed in, in spite of
herself, the charm of the scene ; an ordered com-
pleteness, left to itself in beauty ; its lonely beauty
to be gathered only by the chance passer-by.
" This is a strange romantic place," said Mr.
Shatov conversationally by her side.
" There is nothing," said Miriam unwillingly,
feeling her theme weaken as she looked away from
it to voice well-known words, " Nothing that reveals
more completely the spiritual," her voice gave over
the word which broke into meaninglessness upon
the air, " the status of a man as his estimate of
" I entirely agree. I was a feminist in my college
days. I am still a feminist."
Miriam pondered. The word was new to her.
But how could anyone be a feminist and still think
women most certainly inferior beings ?
" Ah," she cried " you are one of the Huxleys."
" I don't follow you."
" Oh well. He, impertinent schoolboy, graciously
suggested that women should be given every possible
kind of advantage, educational and otherwise ; say-
ing almost in the same breath that they could never
reach the highest places in civilisation ; that Nature's
Salic Law would never be repealed."
" Well, how is it to be repealed ? "
" I don't know I'm sure. I'm not wise enough to
give instruction in repealing a law that has never
existed. But who is Huxley, that he should take
upon himself to say what are the highest places in
civilisation ? "
" Miriam " he said, coming round to stand before
her. " We are not going to quarrel over this
matter." She refused to meet his eyes.
" It is not a question of quarrelling, or even dis-
cussion. You have told me all I want to know. I
see exactly where you stand ; and for my part it
decides, many things. I don't say this to amuse my-
self or because I want to, but because it is the only
thing I can possibly do."
" Miriam. In this spirit nothing can be said at
all. Let us rather go and have tea."
Poor little man, perhaps he was weary ; troubled
in this strange grey corner of a country not his own,
isolated with an unexpected anger. They had tea
in a small dark room behind a little shop. It was
close packed with an odorous dampness. Miriam sat
frozen, appalled by the presence of a negro. He sat
near by, huge, bent snorting and devouring, with a
huge black bottle at his side. Mr. Shatov's presence
was shorn of its alien quality. He was an English-
man in the fact that he and she could not sit eating
in the neighbourhood of this marshy jungle. But
they were, they had. They would have. Once away
from this awful place she would never think of it
again. Yet the man had hands and needs and feel-
ings. Perhaps he could sing. He was at a disadvan-
tage, an outcast. There was something that ought
to be said to him. She could not think what it was.
In his oppressive presence it was impossible to think
at all. Every time she sipped her bitter tea it
seemed that before she should have replaced her cup,
vengeance would have sprung from the dark corner.
Everything hurried so. There was no time to shake
off the sense of contamination. It was contamina-
tion. The man's presence was an outrage on some-
thing of which he was not aware. It would be
possible to make him aware. When his fearful face,
which she sadly knew she could not bring herself to
regard a second time, was out of sight, the outline
of his head was desolate, like the contemplated head
of any man alive. Men ought not to have faces.
Their real selves abode in the expressions of their
heads and brows. Below, their faces were moulded
While she had pursued her thoughts, advantage
had fallen to the black form in the corner. It was
as if the black face grinned, crushing her thread of
" You see, Miriam, if instead of beating me, you
will tell me your thoughts, it is quite possible that
mine may be modified. There is at least nothing of
the bigot in me."
" It is not what people may be made to see for a
few minutes in conversations that counts. It is the
conclusions they come to, instinctively, by them-
selves." He wanted to try and think as she did
" chose attendrissante ; il me ressem-
blaient " life . . was different, to everybody,
even to intellectual male vain-boasters, from every-
body's descriptions ; there was nothing to point to
anywhere that exactly corresponded to spoken
opinions. But the relieving truth of this was only
realised privately. The things went on being said.
Men did not admit their private discoveries in
public. It was not enough to see and force the
admittance of the holes in a theory privately, and
leave the form of words going on and on in the
world perpetually parroted, infecting the sky.
" Wise women know better and go their way with-
out listening," is not enough. It is not only the
insult to women ; a contempt for men is a bulwark
against that, but introduces sourness into one's own
life It is the impossibility of witnessing
the pouring on of a vast, repeating public life that
is missing the significance of everything.
Yet what a support, she thought with a sideways
glance, was his own gentleness . . . gentilesse . . .
and humanity, to his own theory. He was serene
and open in the presence o£ this central bitterness.
If she could summon, in words, convincing evidence
of the inferiority of man, he would cheerfully accept
it and go on unmaimed. But a private reconstruc-
tion of standards in agreement with one person
would not bring healing. It was history, literature,
the way of stating records, reports, stories, the whole
method of statement of things from the beginning
that was on a false foundation.
If only one could speak as quickly as one's thoughts
flashed, and several thoughts together, all with a
separate life of their own and yet belonging, every-
body would be understood. As it was, even in the
most favourable circumstances, people could hardly
communicate with each other at all.
" I have nothing to say. It is not a thing that
can be argued out. Those women's rights people are
the worst of all. Because they think women have
been " subject " in the past. Women never have
been subject. Never can be. The proof of this is
the way men have always been puzzled and ever-
lastingly trying fresh theories ; founded on the very
small experience of women any man is capable of
having. Disabilities, imposed by law, are a stupid
insult to women, but have never touched them as
individuals. In the long run they injure only men.
For they keep back the civilisation of the outside
world, which is the only thing men can make. It
is not everything. It is a sort of result, poor and
shaky because the real inside civilisation of women,
the one thing that has been in them from the first
and is not in the natural man, not made by " things,"
is kept out of it. Women do not need civilisation.
It is apt to bore them. But it can never rise above
their level. They keep it back. That does not
matter, to themselves. But it matters to men. And
if they want their old civilisation to be anything but
a dreary-weary puzzle, they must leave off imagining
themselves a race of gods fighting against chaos, and
thinking of women as part of the chaos they have to
civilise. There isn't any " chaos." Never has been.
It's the principal masculine illusion. It is not a truth
to say that women must be civilised. Feminists are
not only an insult to womanhood. They are a libel
on the universe." In the awful presence she had
spoken herself out, found and recited her best most
liberating words. The little unseen room shone, its
shining speaking up to her from small things imme-
diately under her eyes. Light, pouring from her
speech, sent a radiance about the thick black head
and its monstrous bronze face. He might have his
thoughts, might even look them, from the utmost
abyss of crude male life, but he had helped her, and
his blind unconscious outlines shared the unknown
glory. But she doubted if she would remember that
thoughts flowed more easily, with surprising ease, as
if given, waiting, ready to be scanned and stated,
when one's eyes ceased to look outwards. If she
could remember it, it might prove to be the solu-
tion of social life.
" These things are all matters of opinion. Where-
as it is a matter of indisputable fact that in the past
women have been subject."
" If you believe that it is impossible for us to
associate. Because we are living in two utterly
" On the contrary. This difference is a most ex-
cellent basis for association."
" You think I can cheerfully regard myself as an
emancipated slave, with traditions of slavery for
memory and the form of a slave as an everlasting
heritage ? "
" Remember that heredity is cross-wise. You are
probably more the daughter of your father . . ."
" That won't help you, thank you. If anything
I am my mother's son."
" Ah — ah, what is this, you are a son. Do you
" That's a piece of English feudalism."
" The demands of feudalism do not explain a
woman's desire for sons."
" That is another question. She hopes they will
give her the understanding she never had from their
father. In that I am my mother's son for ever. If
there's a future life, all I care for is to meet her. If
I could have her back for ten minutes I would gladly
give up the rest of my life Is heredity really
criss-cross ? Is it proved ? "
" Oh yes. Of course. I know. To prevent civili-
sation going ahead too fast ! I've seen that some-
where. Very flattering to men. But it proves
there's no separate race of men and women."
" Then how have men the face to go on with their
generalisations about women ? "
" You yourself have a generalisation about
That's different. It's not about brains and
attainments. I can't make you see. I suppose it's
" What is Christianity ? You think Christianity
is favourable to women ? On the contrary. It is
the Christian countries that have produced the pros-
titute and the most vile estimations of women in
the world. It is only in Christian countries that I
find the detestable spectacle of men who will go
straight from association with loose women into the
society of innocent girls. That I find unthinkable.
With Jews womanhood has always been
sacred. And there can be no doubt that we owe
our persistence as a race largely to our laws of pro-
tection for women ; all women. Moreover in the
older Hebrew civilisation women stood very high.
You may read this. To-day there is a very signifi-
cant Jewish wit which says that women make the
best wives and mothers in the world."
" There you are. No Englishman would make a
joke like that."
" Because he is a hypocrite."
" No. He may, as you say, think one thing and
say another ; but long long ago he had a jog. It
was Christianity. Something happened. Christ was
the first man to see women as individuals."
" You speak easily of Christianity. There is no
Christianity in the world. It has never been ima-
gined, save in the brain of a Tolstoy. And he has
shown that if the principles of Christianity were
applied, civilisation as we know it would at once
come to an end."
" There may not be much Christianity. But
Christianity has made a difference. It has not given
things to women that were not there before.
Nothing can do that. But it has shed a Hght on
them which the best women run away from. Never
imagine I am speaking of myself. I'm as much a
man as a woman. That's why I can't help seeing
things. But I'm not really interested. Not inside
myself. Now look here. You prefer English-
women to Jewesses. I can't bear Jewesses, not
because they are not really like other women, but
because they reflect the limitations of the Jewish
male. They talk and think the Jewish man's idea of
them. It has nothing to do with them as individuals.
But they are waiting for the light to go up."
" I speak always of these assimilated and half-
assimilated English Jewesses. Certainly to me they
are most inimical."
" More so than the Germans ? "
" In a different way. They have here less social
disabilities. But they are most absolutely terre-a-
" Why are Russian Jewesses different ? "
" Many of them are idealist. Many live alto-
gether by one or two ideas of Tolstoy."
" Why do you smile condescendingly ? "
" These ideas can lead only to revolution. I am
not a revolutionary. While I admire everywhere
those who suffer for their ideals."
" You admit that Tolstoy has influenced Russian
Jewesses. He got his ideas from Christ. So you
say. I did not know he was religious."
" It is a later development. But you remember
Levin. But tell me, do you not consider that wife
and mother is the highest position of woman ? "
" It is neither high nor low. It may be anything.
If you define hfe for women, as husbands and chil-
dren, it means that you have no consciousness at all
where women are concerned."
" There is the evidence of women themselves.
The majority find their whole life in these things."
" That is a description, from outside, by men.
When women use it they do not know what they
IT was strange that it should be the house that
had always caught her eye, as she crossed the
square ; one of the spots that always made the years
of her London life show as a continuous com-
munion with the rich brightness of the west-end.
The houses round about it were part of the darker
colour of London, creating even in sunlight the be-
loved familiar London atmosphere of dun-coloured
mist and grime. But this house was a brilliant white,
its windows fringed, during the season, with the
gentle deep velvet pink of ivy-leaf geraniums and
having, across the lower half of its fagade a fine close
trellis of green painted wood, up which a green
creeper clambered, neat and sturdy, with small
bright polished leaves making a woodland blur across
the diamond patterned mesh of white and green.
There were other creepers in the square, but they
hung in festoons, easily shabby, spoiled at their
brightest by the thought of their stringy bare ten-
drils hung with shrivelled leaves. These small green
leaves faded and dried and fell crisply, leaving a net-
work of clean twigs to gleam in the rain, and the
treUis bright green against the white house-front,
suggesting summer all the year around.
She went eagerly towards this permanent summer
created by wealth, warmed by the imagined voice
of a power that could transform all dijfficulties, set-
ting them in a beauty that lived by itself.
The little leaves, seen from the doorstep, shone
like bright enamel in the misty twilight ; but their
beautiful wild clean-cut shapes, so near, suddenly
seemed helpless, unable to escape, forced to drape
the walls, life-fevered within, to which their stems
were pinned But there was a coming in and
out All people in houses had a coming
in and out, those moments of coming, anew out
into endless space. And everywhere at moments, in
houses, was the sense of the life of the whole world
flowing in. Even Jewish houses were porous to the
life of the world, and to have a house, however
strangely shaped one's life, would be to have a van-
tage point for breathing in the life of the world.
She stood in a lull, reprieved, her endlessly
revolving problem left behind, the future in abey-
ance, perhaps to be shown her by the woman waiting
within, set in surroundings that now called to her
jubilantly, proclaiming themselves to be the only
object of her visit. For a moment she found herself
back in her old sense of the marvel of existence,
gazing at the miraculous spectacle of people and
things, existing ; herself, however, perplexed and re-
sourceless, within it, everything sinking into insig-
nificance beside the fact of being alive, having lived
on to another moment of unexplainable glorious
happiness. Light-heartedly she rang the bell. The
small movement of her lifted hand was supported,
a permitted part of the whole tremendous pano-
rama ; and in that whole she was England, a link
in the world-wide being of England and English life.
The bell, grinding out its summons within the house,
brought her back within the limits of the occasion,
but she could not drive away the desire to go for-
ward without return, claiming welcome and accept-
ance, in a life permanently set in beauty.
The door flew open revealing a tall resentfully
handsome butler past whom she went confidently
announcing her appointment, into an immense
hail, its distances leading in every direction to
doors, suggesting a variety of interiors beyond her
experience. She was left standing. Somieone who
had come up the steps as the door opened, was
'being swiftly conveyed, a short squat polished
wealthy old English Jew with curly grey hair and
an eager busy plunging gait, across the hall to the
centremost door. It opened on a murmur of voices
and the light from within fell upon a table just
outside, its surface crowded with gleaming top-hats.
Some kind of men's meeting was in progress. The
woman was not in it Had she anticipated,
before she married, what it would be, however she
might fortify herself with scorn, to breathe always
the atmosphere of the Jewish religious and social
oblivion of women ? Had she had any experience
of Jewesses, their sultry conscious femineity, their
dreadful acceptance of being admitted to synagogue
on sufferance, crowded away upstairs in a stuffy
gallery, while the men downstairs, bathed in light,
draped in the symbolic shawl, thanked God aloud
for making them men and not women ? Had she
thought what it must be to have always at her
side a Jewish consciousness, unconscious of her
actuality, believing in its own positive existence,
seeing her as human only in her consecration to
The returning butler ushered her unannounced
through a doorway near at hand into a room that
spread dimly about her in a twilight deepened by
a single core of rosy light at the centre of the
expanse. Through a high curtain-draped archway
she caught a glimpse, as she came forward, of a
further vastness, shadowy in undisturbed twilight.
Mrs. Bergstein had risen to meet her, her head
obscured in the gloom above the lamplight, so that
only her gown met Miriam's first sally of investiga-
tion ; a refined middle-class gown of thin dull
black whose elbow sleeves and little vee neck were
softened at the edge with a ruche of tulle ; the
party dress of a middle-aged spinster schoolmistress.
Miriam braced herself in vain against its seduc-
tions ; it called her so powerfully to come forth and
rejoice. She revelled off, licensed and permitted,
the free deputy of this chained presence, amongst
the enchantments of the great house ; the joy of
her escapade leaping bright against the dark cer-
tainty that there was no help awaiting her. It was
no longer to be feared that an unscrupulous, suc-
cessful, brightly cajoling woman would persuade
her that her problem did not exist ; but neither
from this woman to whom the fact of life as a
thing in itself never had time to appear, could she
hope for support in her own belief in the un-
soundness of compromise.
Mrs. Bergstein bowed, murmured a greeting and
indicated a little settee near the low chair into
which she immediately subsided, her face still in
shadow, the shape of her coiffure so much in keeping
with the dress that Miriam could hardly refrain
from departing then and there. She sat down, a
schoolgirl waiting for judgment against which she
was armed in advance, and yet helpless through
her unenvious, scornful admiration.
" I was much interested by your letter " said Mrs.
The interview was at an end. There was no
opening in the smooth close surface represented by
the voice, through which questions could be driven
home. She was smitten into silence where the
sound of the voice echoed and re-echoed, whilst she
fumbled for a suitable phrase, clinging to the memory
of the statement, still somewhere, which she had
come, so desperately, to hear and carry away and
set down, a ray of light in the darkness of her
revolving thoughts. A numb forgetfulness assailed
her, threatening the disaster of irrelevance of speech
or behaviour coming from the tides of expression
she felt beating below it. She forced a murmured
response from her lips, and the tumult was stilled
to an echo that flung itself to and fro within,
answering the echo of the woman's voice on the
air. She had caught hold and contributed. It
was now the turn of the other to go on and confirm
what she had revealed
" Music is so beautiful — so elevating." " That
depends upon the music." Never said. Kept
treacherously back for the sake of things that might
be lost in a clashing of opinions . . . the things
they never thought of in exercising their benevolence,
and demanding in return acceptance of their views
. . . the light of a whole world condensed in the
bright old town, the sweet chiming sound of it,
coming in at the windows, restoring childhood, the
expanses of leisure made by their small hard circle,
a world of thoughtless ideas, turning a short week-
end into a life, lived before, familiar, building out
in the nerves a glorious vitality
It was the same voice, the English lady's voice,
bringing all Christendom about her, all the traditions
within which, so lately, she had felt herself com-
mitted steadfastly to tread. But there was some-
thing left out of it, a warmth was missing, it had
not in it the glow that was in those other women's
voices, of kindliness towards the generous things
they had secretly, willingly renounced. It had,
instead something that was like a cold clean blade
thrusting into an intelligible future, something
inexorable, founded not upon fixed ideas, but upon
ideas, single and cold. This woman would not
make concessions ; she would always stand, un-
compromisingly, in face of everyone, men and
women, for the same things, clear cut, delicate and
narrowly determining as her voice.
" You are considering the possibility of embracing
the Jewish faith ? "
" Well, «o," said Miriam startled into briskness
by the too quickly developing accumulation of
speech. " I heard that you had done so ; and
wondered, how it was possible, for an English-
" You are a Christian ? "
" I don't know. I was brought up in the Anglican
" Much depends upon the standpoint from which
one approaches the ver^ definite and simple creed
of Judaism. I myself was a Unitarian, and there-
fore able to take the step without making a break
with my earlier convictions."
" I see," said Miriam coldly. Fate had deceived
her, holding in reserve the trick of this simple
explanation. She gazed at the seated figure. The
glow of her surroundings was quenched by the
chill of a perpetually active reason. . . . Science,
ethics, withering commonsense playing over every-
thing in life, making a harsh bareness everywhere,
■seeing nothing alive but the cold processes of the
human mind ; having Tennyson read at services
because poetry was one of the superior things
produced by humanity She wondered
whether this woman, so exactly prepared to meet
a Jewish reform movement, had been helplessly
born into Unitarianism, or had taken it up as she
herself had nearly done.
" Much of course depends upon the synagogue
through which one is admitted." Ah ; she had felt
the impossibilities. She had compromised and was
excusing her compromise.
" Of course I have heard of the reform move-
ment." . . The silence quivered with the assertion
that the reformers were as much cut off from
Judaism as Unitarianism from Anglican Christianity.
To enter a synagogue that made special arrange-
ments for the recognition of women was to admit
that women were dependent on recognition. The
silence admitted the dilemma. Mrs. Bergstein had
passed through these thoughts, suffering ? Though
she had found a way through, following her cold
clear reason, she still suffered ?
" I think I should find it impossible to associate
with Jewish women.''''
" That is a point you must consider very care-
fully indeed." The room leapt into glowing
reality. They were at one ; Englishwomen with
a common incommunicable sense. Outcasts
Far away, within the warm magic circle of English
life, sounded the careless easy slipshod voices of
Englishmen, she saw their averted talking forms,
aware in every line, and protective, of something
that Englishwomen held in their hands.
" Don't you find " she began breathlessly, but
calm even tones drove across her eagerness :
" What is your fiance's attitude towards religion ? "
" He is not exactly religious and not fully in
sympathy with the reform movement because he is
a Zionist and thinks that the old ritual is the
only link between the persecuted Jews and those
who are better placed ; that it would be treachery
to break with it as long as any are persecuted.
Nevertheless, he is willing to renounce
The Queen, who is religious, puts love before
religion, for woman. Her Protestantism. He for
God only, she for God in him and able to change
her creed when she marries. A Catholic couldnH.
And she would call Catholics idolators. ^he is an
idolater ; of men.
Mrs. Bergstein was amazed at his willingness.
Envious / am a Jew, a '' he ad^ man
incapable of ' love ' It is your eyes. I
must see them always / know now what is
meant by love / am even willing to renounce
my Judaism Michael to think and say
that. I am crowned, for Hfe ; by a sacrifice I
cannot accept. He must keep his Judaism
You must marry me The discovery, flow-
ing through the grey noisy street, of the secret of
the * mastery ' idea ; that women can only be sure
that a man is sure when
" There is then no common rehgious feeHng
between you ? "
She had moved. The Hght fell upon her. She
was about /or^y. She had come forth, so late, from
the secret numbness of her successful independent
life, and had not found what she came to seek. She
was still alone in her circling day. At the period of
evening dress she put on a heavy gold bracelet,
ugly, a heavy ugly shape. Her face was pinched
and drawn ; before her lay the ordeal of belated
motherhood. Vulgarly violating her refined en-
durance had come this incident. Dignified con-
demnation spoke from her averted eyes. She had
said her say and was desiring that there should be
no further waste of time.
Miriam made no sound. In the stillness that
followed the blow she faced the horrible summary,
stricken to her feet, her strength ebbing with her
thoughts into the gathering swirling darkness. She
waited for a moment. But Mrs. Bergstein made
no sign. Imponderable, conscious only of the
weight of her body about her holding her to the
ground beneath her feet, she went away from the
room and the house. In the lamplit darkness her
feet carried her joyously forward into the freshness
of the tree-filled air. The large square lying
between her and the street where he was waiting
seemed an immensity. She recovered within it the
strange unfailing freedom of solitude in the sounding
spaces of London and hurried on to be by his side
generally expressive of her rejoicing. The world's
condemnation was out of sight behind her. But
he would ask, and whatever she said, the whole
problem would be there afresh, insoluble. He
would never see that it had been confirmed, never
admit anything contemptible in their association.
It was because there was no contempt in
him that she was hurrying. But alone again with
him, the troubled darkness behind her would return
with its maddening influence. She was fleeing
from it only towards its darkest centre.
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